In the last three decades, Eastern Asia has been relatively peaceful. The end of the Vietnam War and subsequent Sino-Vietnamese War, plus China’s changed orientation towards development and revolution, have had a marked impact. Since 1979, the number of military casualties each year has been only about two per cent of the region’s annual average in the period 1945–1979. Moreover, these figures have been very low compared to the rest of the world. This new book series explores how East and Southeast Asia made the transition to this relative peace and questions how durable it is.
With (among others) ongoing tensions in the Korean peninsula, sporadic clashes on the Thai-Cambodian border, unresolved conflicts in the Philippines and Burma/Myanmar, and a growing insurgency in southern Thailand, the region is certainly not completely free of conflict. What kinds of conflicts are these and why is it that some countries have not yet reached the level of peacefulness found in other areas in Eastern Asia? Moreover, why has relative peace been restricted to East and Southeast Asia and why has it not spread to South Asia, let alone to Central Asia?
The book series on Peace and Conflict in East and Southeast Asia will publish well-researched books that explore these and related issues, by authors who relate their scholarship to developing discourses in the field of conflict studies.
The series editor is Timo Kivimäki of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. At the 2011 ICAS-AAS conference in Honolulu, he discussed some of these issues in an interview available here.