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The authors of this monograph survey the challenges to U.S. national security that confront this diverse and dynamic region, highlighting the particularly volatile situation that continues on the Korean peninsula. Beyond continued U.S. attention to maintaining a robust military presence and steadfast U.S. alliances, they argue that the United States, without ignoring the key dimensions in the U.S. National Security Strategy of responding and preparing now, should give a greater emphasis to shaping the Asia-Pacific region. They contend that the time is ripe for the United States to launch a major shaping initiative to help ensure that the positive trends of marketization, democratization, and regional integration continue and strengthen in the 21st century. Building on a bipartisan consensus with careful attention to interagency coordination at home, and in close consultation with allies abroad, the United States, they recommend, should devise a new road map to guide Asia-Pacific policy. The authors conclude that, due to finite resources, the United States should concentrate in particular on pivotal states—those countries that serve as linchpins in the region. They identify several such states and urge special attention to these to help ensure that they evolve along democratic, prosperous, and peaceful trajectories. The authors conclude that the most serious concern remains North Korea and they suggest a cautious, consistent, and pragmatic approach to Pyongyang targeted at fostering evolutionary change with incremental improvements in bilateral relations by the United States depending on positive moves by North Korea.

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National security; Asia Pacific; Korea; Pyongyang

The Asia-Pacific in the U.S. National Security Calculus for a New Millennium