Struggling with the Gray Zone: Trilateral Cooperation to Strengthen Deterrence in Northeast Asia   [open pdf - 699KB]

"The Pacific Forum CSIS [Center for Strategic and International Studies], with the Asan Institute for Policy Studies and with support from the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering WMD (PASCC) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), held a US-ROK-Japan Extended Deterrence Trilateral Dialogue on July 19-21, 2015. Forty-one US, ROK, and Japanese experts, officials, military officers, and observers, along with 19 Pacific Forum Young Leaders, attended in their private capacities. Key findings include: The primary challenges that the United States faces from its chief competitors in Northeast Asia -- China and North Korea -- are similar. Each is trying to use speed, geography, and asymmetry of stakes to reach their objectives, while avoiding a US military response. All participants support increased trilateral cooperation but understand that political dynamics between Seoul and Tokyo will limit progress. One ROK participant insisted that political support for trilateralism in South Korea is only possible if the three countries focus on countering a North Korean threat. 'China is the ceiling to how far trilateral cooperation can go,' an argument consistent with previous meetings. A US participant argued that trilateral cooperation and coordination is not sufficient. He called for greater interoperability that leads to deep integration of security policies. South Korea and Japan remain concerned with gray zone challenges from North Korea and China respectively and want more clarity about how the United States will contribute to their defense in these situations. Some US participants noted that the US can only do so much to help allies to counter provocations. Others encouraged more seamless integration of planning and greater US support for allied efforts to protect their interests if challenged. Some US participants, however, stressed that allies are primarily responsible for their own defense against gray zone challenges." Note: This document has been added to the Homeland Security Digital Library in agreement with the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering WMD (PASCC) as part of the PASCC collection. Permission to download and/or retrieve this resource has been obtained through PASCC.

Report Number:
CSIS Issues & Insights (October 2015), v.15 no.13
Center for Strategic and International Studies. Downloaded or retrieved via external web link as part of the PASCC collection.
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Via E-mail
Media Type:
US-ROK-Japan Trilateral Strategic Dialogue. Maui, HI. July 19-21, 2015
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