There has been a dramatic drop in East Asian battle deaths between the 1970s and ’80s, just as wars got worse in the rest of the world. Since 1989, East Asia has been exceptionally peaceful. Why is that? And can this last?

Welcome to this book launch! Stein Tønnesson will introduce the content of two books from the 6-year East Asian Peace Program, conducted at Uppsala University.

Marte Nilsen (PRIO) will chair the booklaunch.

Critical comments will be given by Nils Petter Gleditsch (PRIO) and Jo Inge Bekkevold (Institute of Defence Studies).

About the books

The monograph Explaining the East Asian Peace (NIAS Press 2017) is Stein Tønnesson's personal story of a multinational research programme that, instead of explaining conflict, has sought to explain peace, and to gauge its quality. The Uppsala Conflict Data Programme shows a dramatic drop in East Asian battle deaths between the 1970s and ’80s, just as wars got worse in the rest of the world. Since 1989, East Asia has been exceptionally peaceful. The book recounts heated discussions over how to explain a regional transition to peace. Was it due to a changing power balance? The ASEAN Way? China’s ‘peaceful development’ doctrine? Growing economic interdependence? Or, as the author contends, a series of national priority shifts by powerful Asian leaders who prioritized economic growth and thus needed external and internal stability?

The anthology Debating the East Asian Peace (NIAS Press 2017), edited by Elin Bjarnegård and Joakim Kreutz, is a collection of essays by scholars who disagree on how to explain the East Asian Peace, and on how to qualify it. Is it a peace by trade, by law, by development, by withdrawal of external interventions, by absence of religious conflict, or by demographic change? Should it be considered a a repressive peace, an unequal peace, an untrustworthy peace, a masculine peace, un unforgiving peace, or a peace threatened by nationalism and great power rivalry?

These two books come out of the 6-year East Asian Peace programme at Uppsala University, funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.