Berlin Conference on Asian Security 2014

»With great power comes great responsibility«: 100 years after World War I – Pathways to a secure Asia

A conference jointly organised by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP), Berlin, and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Berlin

Berlin, SWP, June 22-24, 2014

Venue: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Ludwigkirchplatz 3-4, D-10719 Berlin (Wilmersdorf)
Contact: Gudrun Wacker (++49-30-88007-265), gudrun.wacker(at), and Anja Bodenmüller (++49-30-88007-449), anja.bodenmueller(at)

The Berlin Conference on Asian Security (BCAS) serves as a forum for exchange between academics and practitioners from Europe, the United States and Asia. Its aim is to generate new ideas and discuss policy implications of evolving dynamics.

Taking place 100 years after the outbreak of World War I, the 8th BCAS will focus on the question whether constellations and trends in Asia today bear any resemblance to the situation in Europe before the War, as some authors have claimed. The Asia-Pacific region today is characterized by growing (economic and infrastructural) integration, but at the same time by lingering conflicts about history, territory and identities. We will look at factors that may play a role in de-escalating or escalating the existing conflicts. What is the power constellation between rising and established, great, small and middle powers in the region? Which trends point in the direction of growing conflict and what counter-measures are taken by governments? Do globalization and economic interdependence play a stabilizing role? The goal of the conference is to explore the parallels and differences between Asia today and Europe a century ago and to identify hidden or open dangers as well as possible ways to defuse them.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Arrival of overseas participants

Sunday, June 22, 2014

  Arrival of participants


Welcome dinner at KAS headquarters
Dinner speech: Geza von Geyr, Political Director, BMVg, Berlin

Monday, June 23, 2014




Opening remarks by Volker Perthes (SWP) and Gerhard Wahlers (KAS)


Session I: Uses and abuses of history – Parallels and differences between Europe in 1914 and Asia in 2014

In recent years, some observers have compared Europe at the eve of World War I with the Asia-Pacific region of today. They have pointed out parallels and differences between the parameters and trends in both world regions. In the opening session, two prominent academics contributing to this debate will look at factors and actors which have influenced past events in Europe and shape present events in Asia.

Chair: Volker Perthes (SWP)
Europe: Joachim Krause (University of Kiel), »Assessing the danger of war in Asia: Parallels and differences between Europe in 1914 and East Asia in 2014«
US: Amitav Acharya (American University, Washington DC), »1914 and 2014: Will Europe's Past be Asia's Future?«




Buffet lunch, SWP lobby


Session II: »War by accident«? – How to (de-)escalate conflicts with neighbors?

All countries in the Asia-Pacific are modernizing their militaries and upgrading their capabilities. While all sides underline their peaceful intentions, national sentiments are also rising in Asia. This panel will look at the modernization efforts and will identify the underlying national threat perceptions. It will also address possible scenarios which could lead to a military turn in the existing territorial conflicts. Which accidents, government action, involvement of non-governmental actors, or misunderstandings and misperceptions could set such a spiral of events in motion? What political measures or diplomatic steps would be necessary to minimize such a danger? What role can bilateral and multilateral initiatives play? Can external actors contribute to reducing risks or are they seen as a complicating element?

Chair: Patrick Keller (KAS)
Australia: Rory Medcalf (Lowy Institute for International Policy, Sydney), »Managing Crisis and Preventing Conflict: Europe 1914 and Asia 2014 - A Discussion Paper«
China: Wang Honggang (China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, Beijing), »The Reshaping of Asia’s Security Order and a New Regional Security Structure«
Philippines: Herman J. Kraft (University of the Philippines, Quezon City), »The Danger of the Downward Spiral of Inter-State Relations in the South China Sea Territorial Disputes«
India: Rajesh Rajagopalan (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), »The Prospects for Conflict, Escalation and War in Asia«
Japan: Ryo Sahashi (Stanford University), »Contest without Management: Gridlock of Japan-China Relations«
US: Christopher Nelson (Samuels International Associates, Washington DC), »War risks in Asia and can they be mitigated?«


Plenary debate


Coffee break, SWP lobby


Session III: Globalization, economic interdependence and new trade agreements

Over the last decades, globalization has accelerated and countries in Asia have become more integrated with respect to manufacturing processes and supply lines. New infrastructure initiatives and new technologies contribute to closer regional integration and real time communication. However, asymmetries can also be identified in these processes. This panel will look into the growing interdependencies and whether they have a stabilizing effect on the political and security situation. The question of ongoing efforts to create regional trading blocs (TPP, TTIP, RCEP) will also be considered.

Chair: Stefan Friedrich (KAS)
US: Paul Blustein (Centre for International Governance Innovation), »Enough Noodles in the Bowl Already«
ASEAN: Yose Rizal Damuri (Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Jakarta), »Regional Integration in Global Contexts: Issues and Challenges«
Japan: Junji Nakagawa (University of Tokyo), »TPP, RCEP and Global Trade Governance«
Europe: Heribert Dieter (SWP), »Globalization, economic interdependence and new agreements: trade policy in the era of mega-regionals«


Plenary debate


Dinner at SWP lobby

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Session IV: New and old donors: Complementing or competing approaches to development?

Development cooperation has played a central role in Asia for decades. Influenced by Western conceptions of development Japan emerged as the first donor in Asia. In recent years, new donors like India and even more so China have entered this field and are also particularly active in their immediate neighborhood. The panel will identify trends and discuss the question whether the different approaches pursued by different countries are complementing each other or are used as instruments of strategic competition. (Examples: Myanmar…)

Chair: Beatrice Gorawantschy (KAS)
China: Jin Ling (China Institute of International Studies, Beijing), »Will the different development cooperation approaches necessarily lead to conflict? - A Chinese perspective«
India: Gulshan Sachdeva (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), »Emerging Dynamics of Indian Development Cooperation«
Japan: Marie Söderberg (European Institute of Japanese Studies, Stockholm), »Asian Security and the Role of Japanese ODA«
Europe: Gerhard Sabathil (European External Action Service, Brussels), »New and old donors: complementing or competing approaches to development – An European View«


Plenary debate


Coffee break, SWP lobby


Concluding Session/Wrap up

This session will summarize the results of the discussion and formulate recommendations.

Moderator: Gudrun Wacker (SWP)
Input: Hanns Maull (SWP)


General debate

Closing remarks by Stefan Friedrich (KAS) and Gudrun Wacker (SWP)


Buffet lunch, SWP lobby


End of conference
Departure of European participants

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Departure of overseas participants

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