No problem is of greater importance to East Asian states today than ensuring the region’s peace and stability. The Cold War’s end has prompted the key powers in East Asia to reevaluate their national security objectives. In addition to general security concerns, three trouble spots– the Taiwan Straits, the Korean Peninsula, and the South China Sea–are particularly destabilizing. Given the increasing importance of East Asia and the growing security concerns in this area, Duke University established the Program in Asian Security Studies (PASS) in 1998.  PASS sponsors conferences, seminars and lectures to encourage critical research and discussion of East Asian security policy issues. It has recently inaugurated a new Korea Forum designed to promote a greater understanding of the significant cultural, social, economic and political contributions of Korea to East Asia and to the world.

PASS offers new routes to the study of contemporary security issues in East Asia. By drawing together a network of scholars from the U.S., Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan, PASS provides in-depth research on long-term security concerns with a focus on mapping the impact of domestic politics on regional security.

PASS organizes conferences and lectures at Duke and around the U.S. that bring together scholars, policy analysts and government officials. Recent programs have been held at the United States Military Academy and the University of South Carolina, in addition to Duke University.

Professor Emerson Niou, Professor of Political Science, is the director of the Program. He received his Ph.D. in 1987 from the University of Texas at Austin and specializes in formal theory, international relations and East Asian politics. He is the coauthor of The Balance of Power (Cambridge University Press, 1989). His current research examines the formation and dissolution of alliances and federations in anarchic international systems, and village elections in China. His recent paper with Brett Benson on “strategic ambiguity” in U.S. policy toward China and Taiwan is available as a PASS working paper.