North-east Asia does not have a formal maritime regime, and has had to deal with its many conflicts in an ad hoc and pragmatic fashion. The region has three significant conflicts over the sovereignty of islands, numerous unresolved maritime boundary disputes, and confrontational military situations in the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Strait. Despite these deep differences, the strong-willed countries of this region have been able to work together to reach bilateral agreements regarding the exploitation of resources. Their fishery agreements have been creative and constructive, and zones of shared exploitation and development have been established where appropriate. The countries of the region now need to seek long-term solutions in order to provide a stable maritime regime, and to deal with the serious environmental problems of their ocean areas. The United States has been a de facto member of this region, because of its role in providing a military balance, and might be able to help mediate some of the festering disputes that interfere with the ability of the countries of North-east Asia to work constructively together.