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East Asian Security and Strategy Programme

The East Asian Security and Strategy Programme at the Swedish Defence University conducts research related to China’s impact as a rising power in regional and global security. Strategies and security policies of other states in the region are also analysed from different perspectives.

Researchers affiliated with the East Asian Security and Strategy Programme conduct research related to China’s strategic thinking and behaviour, its foreign and security policy, the domestic and international roles of the People’s Liberation Army, and China’s impact as a rising power in regional and global security.

Strategy and security policy

Within the programme, strategies and security policies of other states in the East Asian region are analysed and the following questions are addressed:

  • What drives regional antagonism and military rivalry, and with what medium- to long term consequences?
  • What can be learned from how the United States and the region’s democratic states have handled China’s rise thus far?

Cooperation and rivalry in the East Asian region

East Asia is a region characterized by both cooperative political, economic and security networks, as well as great power rivalry. The latter is expected to intensify in the short to medium term, both because of the rise of China – one of the greatest geopolitical events of our time – and the way it is interpreted and handled by other states.

The region also houses an important network of US alliances and significant US interests, alongside the declining powers Japan and Russia, and the ever-volatile Korean peninsula. East Asia risks becoming the scene of security dilemmas and great power conflicts in different areas, not least regarding Taiwan, disputed territories in the East and South China Seas, and challenges posed by the North Korean regime, including the development and testing of nuclear weapons and missiles.

Domain-specific competences

Researchers affiliated with the programme have extensive and relevant domain-specific competencies, including proficiency in Chinese and Japanese, and address issues listed above by analysing the politics, military developments, and relationships in and between East Asian states, as well as their relationships with the United States.

Affiliated researchers at the Swedish Defence University

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Turner, Oliver, Nicola Nymalm & Wali Aslam (2023): The Routledge Handbook of US Foreign Policy in the Indo-Pacific. New York, NY: Routledge.

Hagström, Linus (2022): “Japan, the Ambiguous and My Fragile, Complex and Evolving Self,” Life Writing.

Ha Thao-Nguyen & Linus Hagström (2022): “Resentment, Status Dissatisfaction, and the Emotional Underpinnings of Japanese Security Policy,” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific.

Lee, Sheryn & Benjamin Schreer (2022): “Will Europe Defend Taiwan?The Washington Quarterly 45(3): 163–182.

Lee, Sheryn (2022): “Taiwan: Deterring, Denying, Defending,” Country report for the Risk Reduction and Arms Control in the Asia-Pacific Project, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. DGAP: Berlin.

Lee, Sheryn & Benjamin Schreer (2022): “Europe and the Indo-Pacific: Evolving Security Engagement,Asia-Pacific Regional Security Assessment 2022: Key Developments and Trends. London: International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Lee, Sheryn (2022): “Towards Instability: The Shifting Nuclear-Conventional Dynamics in the Taiwan Strait,Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament 5(1): 154–166.

Lee, Sheryn (2022): “Avoiding nuclear war in the Taiwan Strait,” Project on Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use in Northeast Asia, Asia-Pacific Leadership Network, Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition Nagasaki University, and the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability. Seoul and Berkeley: APLN and Nautilus.

Nymalm, Nicola (2022): Book review: “China’s Rise and Rethinking International Relations Theory.” Edited by Chengxin Pan and Emilian Kavalski. Bristol: Bristol University Press. 2022. 266pp. International Affairs 98 (5): 1785–86.

Nymalm, Nicola (2022): “In Conversation: Nicola Nymalm on From ‘Japan Problem’ to ‘China Threat’?” January 20, 2022, 9DASHLINE.

Öberg, Dan & Linus Hagström (2022): “Female Nationalist Activism in Japan: Truth-telling through Everyday Micro-practices,” Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 47(4): 194–208.

Ha, Thao-Nguyen, Linus Hagström & Dan Öberg (2021): “Everyday Perspectives on Security and Insecurity in Japan: A Survey of Three Women’s Organizations,” Social Science Japan Journal 25(1): 29–54.

Hagström, Linus & Karl Gustafsson (2021): “The Limitations of Strategic Narratives: The Sino-American Struggle over the Meaning of COVID-19,” Contemporary Security Policy 42(4): 415–449.

Hagström, Linus (2021): “Great Power Narcissism and Ontological (In)Security: The Narrative Mediation of Greatness and Weakness in International Politics,” International Studies Quarterly 65(2): 331–342.

Hagström, Linus & Karl Gustafsson (2021): “The U.S., China, and the Futility of the Narrative Battle over COVID-19,” Voices on Peace and War, Norwich University, 21 October.

Hagström, Linus & Karl Gustafsson (2021): “Strategic Narratives in the Sino-American COVID-19 ‘Blame Game’,” Contemporary Security Policy Blog, 5 October.

Lee, Sheryn (2021): Explaining Contemporary Asian Military Modernization: The Myth of Asia’s Arms Race. London and New York: Routledge.

Berenskötter, Felix, and Nicola Nymalm (2021): “States of Ambivalence: Recovering the Concept of ‘the Stranger’ in International Relations,” Review of International Studies 47 (1): 19–38.

Pan, Chengxin & Linus Hagström (2021): “Ontological (In)Security and Neoliberal Governmentality: Explaining Australia’s China Emergency,” Australian Journal of Politics and History, 67(3–4): 454–473.

Bohman, Viking & Nicola Nymalm (2020): “Kinesiska investeringar i Sverige: från framgång till fara?Internasjonal Politikk 78(1): 93–105.

Hagström, Linus & Astrid Nordin (2020): “China’s Politics of Harmony and the Quest for Soft Power in International Politics,” International Studies Review 22(3): 507–525.

Hagström, Linus & Chengxin Pan (2020): “Traversing the Soft/Hard Power Binary: The Case of the Sino-Japanese Territorial Dispute,” Review of International Studies 46 (1): 37–55.

Lee, Sheryn (2020): “The Myth of Australia’s Strategic Policy,Australian Journal of International Relations 74(3): 228–243.

Lee, Sheryn (2020): “Xi Jinping’s China and Northeast Asian Security,The Implications of Connectivity Agendas for our Economic Well-Being and our Security, ed. Teruhiko Fukushima & Ian Hall. Yokosuka: Center for Global Security, National Defense Academy Japan, pp. 5–19.

Lee, Sheryn (2020): “Unequal Rivals: China, India and the Struggle for Influence in Southeast Asia,” in Routledge Handbook on China-India Relations, ed. Kanti Bajpai, Manjari C. Miller & Selina Ho. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 434–448.

Lee, Sheryn (2020): “Taiwan’s Foreign Policy,” in The Taiwan Problem: Challenges and Prospects, ed. Andrew T. H. Tan & Benjamin Schreer. Oxon and New York: Routledge, pp. 138–155.

Ledberg, Sofia (2020) “China: Party–Army Relations Past and Present,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nymalm, Nicola (2020): From “Japan Problem” to “China Threat”? Rising Powers in US Economic Discourse. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Weissmann, Mikael (2020): “Capturing Power Shift in East Asia: Towards an Analytical Framework for Understanding ‘Soft Power’,” Asian Perspective 44(3): 353–382.

Gustafsson, Karl, Linus Hagström & Ulv Hanssen (2019): “Long Live Pacifism! Narrative Power and Japan’s Pacifist Model,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 32(4): 502–520.

Hagström, Linus & Magnus Lundström (2019): “Overcoming US-North Korean Enmity: Lessons from an Eclectic IR Approach,” The International Spectator 54(4): 94–108.

Hagström Linus & Karl Gustafsson (2019): “Narrative Power: How Storytelling Shapes East Asian International Politics,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 32(4): 387–406.

Hagström, Linus & Erik Isaksson (2019): “Pacifist Identity, Civics Textbooks, and the Opposition to Japan’s Security Legislation,” Journal of Japanese Studies 45(1): 31–55.

Nymalm, Nicola (2019): “The Economics of Identity: Is China the New ‘Japan Problem’ for the United States?Journal of International Relations and Development 22(4): 909–933.

Nymalm, Nicola (2019): “Washington’s Old ‘Japan Problem’ and the Current ‘China Threat’,” East Asia Forum, September 11.

Nymalm, Nicola & Johannes Plagemann (2019): “Comparative Exceptionalism: Universality and Particularity in Foreign Policy Discourses,” International Studies Review 21 (1): 12–37.

Turner, Oliver, and Nicola Nymalm (2019): “Morality and Progress: IR Narratives on International Revisionism and the Status Quo,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 32 (4): 407–28.

Weissmann, Mikael & Mingjiang Li (2019): “Introduction to the Special Issue: Power, Narratives, and the Role of Third Parties: Understanding Power (Shift) in East Asia,” Asian Perspective 43(2): 215–221.

Weissmann, Mikael (2019): “Understanding Power (Shift) in East Asia: The Sino-US Narrative Battle about Leadership in the South China Sea,Asian Perspective 43(2): 223–248.

Gustafsson, Karl, Linus Hagström & Ulv Hanssen (2018): “Japan’s Pacifism is Dead,” Survival 60(6): 137–158.

Ledberg, Sofia (2018): “Analysing Chinese Civil–Military Relations: A Bottom-Up Approach,” China Quarterly 234: 377–398.

Lee, Sheryn (2018): “Policy Roundtable: Are the US and China in a New Cold War,” Texas National Security Review, May 15.

Lee, Sheryn (2018): “Review: Lesser Dragons, Minority Peoples of China,” International Affairs 94(6): 1476–1478.

Lee, Sheryn (2018): “Australia-Japan Security Cooperation: The Lack of a Targeted Approach,” in The Politics Behind the Story: Sixty Years on from the 1957 Australia-Japan Commerce Agreement, ed. Dan Halvorson and Michael Heazle. Griffith Asia Institute Workshop Paper Series, Vol. 59, pp. 79–90.

Lee, Sheryn (2018): “Contesting Visions of ‘Primacy’: The Australian Perception of US Decline in the Asia-Pacific,” in China’s Rise and Australia–Japan–US Relations Primacy and Leadership in East Asia, ed. Michael Heazle and Andrew O’Neil. Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar, pp. 167–192.

Nordin, Astrid H. M. & Mikael Weissmann (2018): “Will Trump Make China Great again? The Belt and Road Initiative and International Order,International Affairs, 94(2): 231–249.