Investigating Confidence-Building Measures in the Asia-Pacific Region

in Program

Ranjeet K. Singh, ed. May 1999.

This report explores how China and Japan might better employ confidence-building measures (CBMs) as part of their security policies, and suggests ways that CBMs can be used to help resolve disputes in the South China Sea and relations across the Taiwan Strait.

  • Introduction, by Benjamin L. Self and Ranjeet K. Singh.


  • China’s Approach to Confidence-Building Measures, by Kenneth W. Allen , Senior Associate in the CBM project at the Henry L. Stimson Center charts the development of China’s use of CBMs over the past decades. He identifies changes in the People’s Liberation Army’s foreign relations that open up new opportunities for inventive application of CBMs to enhance Chinese security and regional stability.


  • Confidence-Building Measures and Japanese Security Policy by Benjamin L. Self, Senior Associate at the Henry L. Stimson Center, traces the evolution of Japanese attitudes about security to understand the constraints on Japan’s use of CBMs. Reviewing the different contexts of unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral CBMs, Self argues that Japan can most effectively contribute to the construction of a cooperative and stable regional security order through direct efforts to build confidence with its neighbors on a bilateral basis.


  • The Spratly Islands Dispute in the South China Sea: Problems, Policies, and Prospects for Diplomatic Accomodation by Christopher C. Joyner, Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, thoroughly reviews the dispute over island groups in the South China Sea. Against the backdrop of the energy, environmental, and economic factors that shape the claimants’ interests in potential resources and their willingness to negotiate and compromise, Professor Joyner explores how CBMs might help reduce tension and contribute to peaceful resolution of this complex issue.


  • Military Confidence-Building Measures Across the Taiwan Strait by Kenneth W. Allen reviews the history and status of cross-strait relations, concluding with recommendations for military CBMs to reduce tensions and promote reconciliation.
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