Although North Korea continues to be a destabilizing element in East Asia, the rest of the region is far more stable than is often realized. China has already managed a head-stunningly fast regional power transition. Countries are rapidly increasing their economic ties to China and each other. And, East Asian countries have steadily reduced their defense spending, which suggests these countries think most of the region's unresolved issues are not worth fighting over.
David. C. Kang is Professor of International Relations and Business at the University of Souther California, with appointments in both the School of International Relations and the Marshall School of Business. He is director of both the USC Korean Studies Institute and the USC Center for International Studies. Kang's latest book is American Grand Strategy and East Asian Security in the 21st Century (Cambridge University Press, 2017).