This study examines the distribution of power in Northeast Asia based on the balance of power theory, a representative theory of realism, assuming military capabilities as the core power of states.
The results of previous studies on the balance of power and military forces are reviewed and used to analyze changes in the strength of the US, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and North Korea through 2020 to predict the security environment in 2030.
In the balance of power theory, if the balance of power between a nation or a group of powers collapses, the possibility of war is high, and to survive in the international community with high uncertainty and distrust, the theory predicts that states must increase their powers in a self-help world and strengthen cooperation and alliance.
Countries in Northeast Asia are also continuing to strengthen their military capabilities, and countries neighboring China are paying keen attention and remaining vigilant due to the rapid changes in the international security environment after the rapid rise of China. To mark the future 100th anniversary of the Chinese armed forces in the 2030s, China aims to realize ‘defense and military modernization’ and build a ‘world-class military force’ by the nation’s 100th anniversary in the 2050s. The US is busy checking China’s rise by strengthening international cooperation and alliances. The security environment and power dynamics in Northeast Asia are slowly changing as the US and China continue to compete for global hegemony. The changes and implications of the distribution of power in Northeast Asia after 2030 are examined based on the balance of power theory.