With Japan, the United States, China and Russia assuming the balance of power in East Asia, there is a greater need for security dialogue and other efforts to build confidence and maintain stability in the region, according to the annual “East Asian Strategic Review” by the National Institute for Defense Studies.

The 1997-1998 review, the second of its kind to be compiled by the institute, will be released March 10 in Japanese and English. “For regional peace and stability in East Asia, North Korea holds the key to stabilize the Korean Peninsula, which remains in a state of military tension,” the review points out. “Although four-sided talks are under way, the situation is not promising,” the review says, pointing to North Korea’s ongoing effort to flaunt and fortify its military might despite the food and economic crisis. With East Asia having no multilateral organizations such as NATO, the U.S. continues to play a major role in regional security, according to the report.

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