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Objective of the conference

Due to the geographically and culturally central position of Korea and the two different systems that have been established in both parts of the country, looking at Korea is one of the best ways to understand the East Asian region and its developments. This includes the field of International Relations. The most active multilateral forum that includes all major players – the Six Party Talks – is centered on Korea. The nuclear issue overshadows bilateral relations in the region. China and the U.S. conduct a significant part of their dialogue in the context of their relations with Korea. Japan has in the past used Korea for its Asia strategy, and will most likely continue doing so.

The challenges ahead are too big for a single nation to resolve them alone. In fact, history has shown that such unilateral attempts often result in disaster. Stable mechanisms of collective security are one option to avoid the dangers of unilateralism. Europe has a long tradition of negotiating and operating such mechanisms, among the most prominent being OSCE. Based on the existing OSCE experience and the specific situation of East Asia today, we want to answer the major set of questions: Will the region be dominated by a strong China, will it be split into two opposing blocks, or is there a way for a cooperative future? What are the options for collective security in East Asia? Can the European model serve as an example? If so, under which conditions would this be possible?

We are particularly interested in learning more about the consequences of the answers to this question for Korea. Looking into the future, a unified Korea will have to define its role in dynamic East Asia. What can Korea do to promote its national brand and its interest in this context? Which considerations do the other involved parties have, and how should they be taken into account? The foundations for the future architecture of East Asia are being laid now. It is hence of the greatest importance for Korea, its neighbors, and the international community to understand the essence of the current problems and to explore options for the future.

The conference wants to contribute to this important debate by providing experts from various countries with a forum for exchange and debate, and later by disseminating the results of this discussion to the wider public through an edited volume.


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„Chair of East Asian Economy and Society
Department of East Asian Studies
University of Vienna
AAKH-Campus, Hof 2, Entrance 2.3
Spitalgasse 2
1090 Vienna
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