The EU discourse about European security, contained in key documents such as the European Union Global Strategy, consistently links European security to developments in Asia. Indeed, frequently concerns are being expressed in Europe about security risks emanating from Asia (e.g. due to the North Korean missile and nuclear programmes and tensions in the South China Sea), there is scant evidence on how effective the EU has been in practice in achieving security cooperation with Asian partners.
The proposed paper develops a conceptual frame to facilitate a systematic assessment of the various security areas (e.g., military security, human security, regional security) that potentially link the EU to the Asia-Pacific region. In proceeds in two stages: first, in order to be able to determine the areas in which the EU is either successful in achieving a degree of cooperation, as well as those in which such cooperation has remained beyond reach, the paper develops a structured framework in order to assess the degree of convergence or divergence between the two sides, both with respect to the levels of threat perceptions and policy response, as well as with regard to instances of joint security cooperation. Second, this framework will then be applied to analyze the evolution of security relations between the EU and Asian partners such as e.g., China, Japan, Korea and ASEAN. In doing so, the paper will also pay take account of the influence of “third actors”, such as the United States or Russia in these bilateral relationships. In other words, as both the EU and Asia adapt to new circumstances (response to threats in both the European and the Asian area), their relationship is likely to be affected by the policies of other actors such as the United States or Russia. In conclusion, the paper highlights the areas in which convergence in the security relations between the EU and specific Asian partners has occurred, which obstacles remain and how effective cooperation between the two sides has been.