It is now a cliché to say that the 21st century is the Asia-Pacific century. The Asia-Pacific is seen by many scholars and policy-makers as one of critical epicentres shaping global politics wherein we all manage our daily lives. Just name a couple of crucial Asia-Pacific security issues of regional as well as global significance: rising China’s future path in world politics, nuclear North Korea, Taiwan’s place in the world, precarious inter-Korean relations, Japan’s quest for normal state, US grand strategy toward Asia, and so on. Indeed, the gravity of the Asia-Pacific in international relations is more important than ever.
In the post-Cold War era of globalization, security studies as a subfield of international relations is no longer limited to military-strategic issues among state actors. There are also human, societal, environmental, economic, health, cultural, energy securities, all of which should be taken into consideration to capture a more complete picture of today’s global politics. In this sense, growing nationalism in globalizing Asia, pandemic (bird flu, SARS), North Korea’s famine, natural disaster (earthquake, tsunami), Asian financial crisis, history war in East Asia, religious-based conflict need to be regarded as security topics to be discussed in Asia-Pacific security studies.
In considering the above changing nature of the Asia-Pacific and security studies, CAPSS’s mission is to produce critical, reflexive, and interdisciplinary research on various key security issues/developments of the Asia-Pacific. Although defining the Asia-Pacific is likely to be contentious, the primary areas of focus for CAPSS are Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and North America. At the moment, CAPSS has two priority research programmes.
The first is ‘Asian Identity and Security Programme’ which examines the interface between state identity and security policy in today’s Asia. The second is ‘Asian IR Thought & Theorising Program’ which explores the ways in which Asian thoughts can be theorised and how it informs the existing, Western-centric IR scholarship in a post-hegemonic world.
For JGU’s students interested in security issues in the Asia-Pacific region, CAPSS will hold a regular reading group to deepen and expand our knowledge of important, relevant security topics in world politics, and a series of guest lectures and conference have been organised to exchange ideas and research outcome with informed, critical scholars. CAPSS will publish a series of working papers on Asia-Pacific security issues.