East Asian security remains overshadowed by serious security challenges. It pessimistically projected to become a dangerous region characterised by state rivalry and conflict. The ‘ripe for rivalry’ and ‘back to future’ scenarios dominated East Asia security analysis. The absence of regional security architecture could plunge East Asia into the fore front of great power rivalry. The withdrawal of the U.S. from the region could also recreate Europe’s past experiences of instability and competitive balance of power. Developments in East Asia security however, have moved to different direction. Optimistic point of view argues that regional order in terms of stability, predictability of relationships between states and relatively peaceful conditions exist in East Asia.
The puzzle of the two parallel developments of stability and relative peace amid serious security challenges was the central focus of this book. It argues that in the absence of a formal regional security architecture and institutional governance the explanation of the puzzle rest on bilateral, multilateral and functional regional security arrangements. The three layers of security arrangements play complementary roles shaping stability and relative peace in East Asia.