In the book Explaining the East Asian Peace peace researcher Stein Tønnesson presents his conclusions from several years of research on the long-term peace in East Asia. The topic is well worth studying. East Asia, comprising a third of humanity, has gone from being one of the most violent regions in the world to not having had a single intergovernmental war since China withdrew from North Vietnam in 1979. Parallel to the decline in intergovernmental conflicts, there have also been fewer and fewer civil wars, partly because rebel movements no longer received support from foreign states. East Asia's share of worldwide deaths has dropped from 80 percent in the period 1946 – 79 to 1,7 percent in the period since 1990; from 1,8 million killed in the period 1946 – 50 to 5300 in the period 2011 – 15.
An important prerequisite for the development is that the national elites feel safe enough to prioritize defense spending and become more dependent on international trade.
Freden lar seg ikke forklare ut fra den liberale fredsteorien som vektlegger nødvendigheten av frihandel, parlamentarisk demokrati og overstatlige institusjoner. Regimene i Øst-Asia spenner fra parlamentariske demokratier som Japan, via ettpartistater som Vietnam, til Nord-Korea, som Tønnesson omtaler som «verdens eneste . . .