Special Forum

This partial draft of the introduction will be expanded when the third article, which ranges more broadly across the Indo-Pacific region including the Southern Tier, has been elaborated.

There is every expectation that Joe Biden will replace Donald Trump’s diplomacy, with stress on multilateralism. In Europe, this clearly means a reemphasis on NATO. In the Indo-Pacific region, three options—which are not mutually exclusive—stand apart: trilateralism with Japan and South Korea; the Quad with Japan, Australia, and India; and outreach to China in search of a format for collective discussion if not management of regional security challenges, following the Six-Parry Talks of the 2000s. Here, we assess the prospects for each of these multilateral possibilities. As the designated secretary of state, Tony Blinken represents the forces of multilateralism who may seek to forge a Quad-Plus, incorporating trilateralism to a considerable extent, striving to enlist countries within ASEAN along with accepting a degree of ASEAN centrality, while leaving the door open to elements of inclusive multilateralism engaging China, especially on North Korea. In order to assess the prospects for US-led multilateralism, we concentrate on three perspectives: 1) Japan-ROK relations and South Korea’s pivotal role in Northeast Asia; 2) China’s relationship with North Korea and its recent thinking about coordination with the US and South Korea on North Korea; and 3) contention in the Southern Tier toward the US-led Quad and regionalism. 

Read full article at www.theasanforum.org.
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