Northeast Asia—encompassing Japan, North and South Korea, Taiwan and eastern China—has seen no major war since the end of the Korean conflict in 1953. However, small armed clashes have broken out every decade since as if to remind leaders that peace in the region, which lacks a formal multilateral security mechanism, is fragile beneath the surface. The latest armed clash, on Nov. 10, took place between the North and South Korean navies, which fought each other three times on their ...

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