History and Asia
November 23, 2011
History matters in international relations. At the inter-state level, history plays an important role in how a country relates to its neighboring countries or develops and manages its relationship with other countries. The sharing of common history and memories from the past—either good or bad—affects the country’s perception vis-à-vis other countries, and this has often determined formulation of its foreign policy. In Asia, sharing history itself has given countries a source of friction and conflict. This trend is particularly salient in Northeast Asia and intense historical disputes among countries in the region have increasingly become one of the driving forces of regional dynamics today. To better understand the relationship between history and Asia, the CSIS Korea Chair and the Northeast Asia History Foundation cohosted a conference on September 17, 2010, in Washington, D.C., bringing together regional and functional experts to discuss historical disputes in Northeast Asia and their implications for the future peace, prosperity, and stability in the region. In this conference report, regional and functional experts explored the current relationships among the Northeast Asian countries and the implications of their past encounters and experiences with one another. They examined historical and territorial disputes among these countries and posit what they believe might be future challenges.