Peacekeeping operations are the most visible activity of the United Nations and widely considered an important tool for conflict resolution. For historical, cultural, and political reasons, however, states from Northeast Asia have been hesitant in their support, and limited in their contributions. Yet Northeast Asian regional actors are no longer as resistant to collective security and international governance initiatives as they have historically been portrayed. With the exception of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (dprk), a rogue regime often at loggerheads with the United Nations (un), and the Republic of China (roc) in Taiwan, a province currently denied independent un membership, the three remaining regional powers, the People’s Republic of China (prc), Japan, and the Republic of Korea (rok), have become increasingly engaged in regional and global peace operations. This engagement has picked up pace since the end of the Cold War in 1991. This article, therefore, examines the contributions to un peacekeeping operations by these three Northeast Asian powers. It further explores the motivational impetuses for policy changes and increasing contributions. Finally the paper assesses both the obstacles to, and the potential for future peacekeeping contributions emanating from the region.
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