The Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue

Founded and led by IGCC Director Emeritus Susan Shirk, this unique multilateral forum involves high-level policymakers, defense ministry officials, military officers, and researchers from China, Japan, North and South Korea, Russia, and the United States. NEACD seeks to reduce the risk of military conflict in the region and to lay the groundwork for an official multilateral process in Northeast Asia. NEACD has proven its value as the only ongoing regular channel of informal communication among the six governments.

History and Objectives

A number of conflicts that stem from historical mistrust and Cold War animosities persist in Northeast Asia. Four of the world’s most powerful nations (the United States, Russia, China, and Japan) have important interests in Northeast Asia and the Korean peninsula. When bilateral relations were tense, there were few opportunities for officials to engage with one another. Instability and even the risk of military conflict compelled the search for new mechanisms to reduce danger and enhance cooperation. Until the establishment of the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue, however, not even an informal consultative process existed to advance such important objectives. These factors were what prompted the founding of NEACD in 1993.

NEACD's Format

While East Asia has a number of region-wide official multilateral forums, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), NEACD is the only ongoing multilateral forum for Northeast Asia.

Officials participate in the meetings in their private capacity, not as official government representatives. Generally, five representatives from each country attend: one policy-level official each from the foreign and defense ministries, one uniformed military officer, and two experts from private research facilities, think tanks, or universities. Participants from the United States usually are deputy assistant secretaries for East Asia and the Pacific from the State and Defense Departments. Participants from other countries usually are at the level of director general.

One day of each two-day meeting is devoted to national perspectives on security in Northeast Asia. The foreign ministry official from each country briefly presents his or her country’s perspective about the current situation. Following each presentation, participants ask questions and receive answers about the country’s policies in a lively give-and-take. Differences in perspective between different government agencies and the influence of domestic politics and public opinion help explain the policy-making context. The second day focuses on specific issues related to security and to regional cooperation in economic and environmental issues.

Principles

The states of Northeast Asia share common objectives of peace, prosperity, and security in the region. To achieve these ends, they advance the following principles for cooperation:

  1. The states of Northeast Asia respect each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and equality; and accept that other countries have different political, economic, social, and cultural systems and the right to determine their own laws and regulations as well as other domestic affairs. They also recognize that they are obliged to abide by and implement international agreements to which they are a party.
  2. The states of Northeast Asia will refrain from the threat or use of force against each other; will settle disputes through peaceful means; and pledge to use consultation, negotiation, and other peaceful means to prevent conflict between and among each other.
  3. The states of Northeast Asia express their commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
  4. To prevent misunderstanding and develop trust, the states of Northeast Asia will promote dialogue, information exchange, and transparency on security issues of common concern.
  5. The states of Northeast Asia respect the principle of freedom of navigation based on international law.
  6. The states of Northeast Asia will promote economic cooperation and the development of trade and investment in the region.
  7. The states of Northeast Asia will cooperate on transnational issues of common concern, such as organized crime, drug trafficking, terrorism, and illegal immigration.
  8. The states of Northeast Asia will cooperate in the provision of humanitarian assistance, such as food aid and disaster relief.

Activities

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 27
July 10–12, 2017
Republic of Singapore

Agenda and Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 26
June 21–23, 2016
Beijing, China

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 25
May 2728, 2015
Tokyo, Japan

Agenda and Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 24
September 17–18, 2014
La Jolla, CA

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 23
October 27–28, 2012
Dalian, China

Agenda
Participants
Press release

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 22
October 26–27, 2011
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 21
October 18–19, 2010
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 20
October 26–27, 2009
La Jolla, California, USA

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 19
November 17–18, 2008
Beijing, China

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 18
November 13–14, 2007
Moscow, Russia

Agenda
Participants
Report

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 17
April 9–13, 2006
Tokyo, Japan

Agenda
Participants
Report

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 16
April 12–13, 2005
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 15
April 5–6, 2004
La Jolla, California, USA

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 14
September 1–2, 2003
Qingdao, China

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 13
September 30–October 1, 2002
Moscow, Russia

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 12
April 25–26, 2002
Tokyo, Japan

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 11
November 8–9, 2001
Honolulu, Hawaii

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 10
November 9–10, 2000
Seoul, Korea

Agenda
Participants
Report

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 9
December 8–9, 1999
Beijing, China

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 8
November 11–12, 1998
Moscow, Russia

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 7
December 3–4, 1997
Tokyo, Japan

Agenda
Participants
Report

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 6
April 2–4, 1997
Harriman, New York

Agenda
Participants
Report

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 5
September 9–12, 1996
Seoul, Korea

Agenda
Participants
Report

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 4
January 8–10, 1996
Beijing, China

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 3
April 26–28, 1995
Podmoskovie, Russia

Agenda
Participants

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 2
May 16–17, 1994
Tokyo, Japan

Agenda
Participants
Report

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue 1
October 8–9, 1993
La Jolla, California

Agenda
Participants