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Regional integration in East Asia Aehwa Kim Korea Alliance of Progressive Movements.

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Presentation on theme: "Regional integration in East Asia Aehwa Kim Korea Alliance of Progressive Movements."— Presentation transcript:

1 Regional integration in East Asia Aehwa Kim Korea Alliance of Progressive Movements

2 Various thoughts Discourses on East Asian integration have been developed in 4 areas : ▲ economic integration in East Asia ▲ regional hegemony ▲ East Asian Identity ▲ alternative communities

3 1. Economic Integration of East Asia Economic blocs such as the EU, Mercosure, and NAFTA have been strengthened by the neo-liberalism which has been spreading since the 1980s. This trend [towards regional economic blocs] also gave East Asia an opportunity to create regionalism in this area. In particular, the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s was a historical moment for East Asia to take regionalism seriously. It was urgent to develop regional cooperation in every economic areas such as trade, finance, foreign exchange and capital. With this background, the goal to establish an ‘economic community through a free trade area’ was set up and several discourses started to be actively advanced in order to analyze the East Asian economic community.

4 2. Regional Hegemony Regional hegemony ( Supremacy in a region) : Since China started to be incorporated into the world capitalist system during the late 1980s, discourse on regional hegemony has developed. As China emerged as an economic and military power, Japan started to speed up its rearmament program and promote enlargement of its role in Asia. Competition between the two powers in East Asia has intensified. Efforts have been made to create a common security community in East Asia.

5 3. East Asian Identity East Asian identity is based on the confidence and the economic success in East Asia since the 1980s. It insists that East Asia has a distinctive difference from Western civilization. In other words, there is an ‘East Asian model ’ or an ‘Asian value’ in East Asia. Singapore former PM Lee Kuan Yew and Malaysian former PM Mahathir contributed to the expansion of this notion. One of the core cultural elements is Confucianism. It leads to Confucianist capitalism.

6 4. Alternative regionalism Alternative regionalism views East Asia an an alternative community. Its views are varied: – Some insist that the Asian alternative community should take root in Asian culture based more on collective rather than individual western culture and life. – Others maintain a 3 rd perspective that is neither socialism nor capitalism. It is based on self-reliant community rather than controlled by a nation- state. It is pursued by some civil society groups in East Asia. – Finally another differing view is that of coutner- neo-liberalism (globalization).

7 Institution for Regional Integration in East Asia Regional integration bodies in East Asia : ▲ Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) ▲ Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ▲ ASEAN+3 / ASEAN +6 ▲ ASEM ASEAN Charter Chiang Mai initiative and AMF : Under the Chiang Mai Initiative adopted in 2000, the ASEAN+3 nations agreed to set up the so-called Asian Monetary Fund to prevent a recurrence of a financial crisis in the Asia region. The system is aimed at helping crisis-hit countries use a common pool of currency reserves to overcome a financial disaster. The first three-part summit between China, Korea, and Japan was held separately from the multilateral international forums (taking place at the same time) for currency swaps to weather the global economic crisis. The three countries used to meet annually on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus Three summit.

8 ASEAN + 3(APT) 1. In 2005, formal first APT summit held. 2. However, its original proposal for East Asian Summit was initiated in 1990 by Malaysian formal PM Mahathir. 3. It had to face strong opposition by the U.S. and Australian gov’ts. They were concerned about its implication might have for the development of APEC. The U.S. was worried about exclusion of it from East Asian summit. 4. Despite the opposition, the proposal did not fade away. 5. East Asian Vision Group proposed by South Korea president was set up to create APT in 1998.

9 1. Long term regionalizing trends 1. East Asia’s recent historical experiences Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 40s. The U.S. influence after the second WW. Japan’s expansion of its business network in East Asia 2. Common cultural traits More focus on family, community and social harmony as well as on duty, the acceptance of hierarchy, community and a respect for authority. 3. Distinctive economic development State interventionism, developmental states emphasized export- oriented industrialization. Protection of certain industries from external competition. 4. FDI flow within East Asian region Japanese and Chinese diasporas investment

10 2. Others to inspire Emergence of Regionalism in other areas The Asian Economic Crisis – Asian Economic crisis coincided with the initial meetings of the APT. – A clear consensus on IMF in conjunction with the U.S. gov’t. – IMF policy has ignored the unique characteristics of the East Asia and made East Asia plunge deeper into difficulties. – Resulted in Chiang Mai Initiatives.

11 1. In Asia when the U.S. superpower get weakened Defeat of the U.S. in Iraq and middle east Asia and recent financial crisis have led to diminishing the U.S. power. Now is the time when external influence of not only the US but also of other imperialist countries is becoming the weakest in Asia. It is time that Asian (independent) power or collective ideas needs to be strengthened for the development of Asia.

12 2. Competition on militarization in Northeast Asia The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in expenditures of armaments in Northeast Asia increasing significantly. In China, the defense budget increased by 15.36 % at an annual average since 1990s. The military relationship between the US and Japan was strengthened The nuclear issue in North Korea became one of the reason for Japanese remilitarization. Japan is playing a role as a headquarters under the U.S. strategy in Asia. Russia also strengthen the amament of Pacific area using petro resources, and try to gain the influence in Asia. South Korea has deepened military dependence on the U.S. accusing North Korea of threat to Korean peninsula.

13 3. China 和平堀起 Peaceful rising/ 平和發展 Peaceful development China is trying to avoid super power image threatening neighboring countries and approach Asia with the soft power image. The process toward East Asia is very diverse and multiple. China announced to allow Yuan as trading currency with ASEAN in December last year. China’s plan and activities towards East Asia community is based on the idea of Capital tri-polarism with the U.S., EU and East Asia.

14 Tensions of regional integration in East Asia Conflict between China and Japan – Unless the two powers settle their historical differences, it is doubtful whether a broader East Asian community is possible. – How should we define the geographic boundary of East Asia (up to what point is East Asia?) ASEAN +3 or ASEAN+ 6 or including Russia ? Who will take the lead role in East Asia? – ASEAN pushes for (poses) ASEAN-leadership during building the East Asian Community. – Northeast Asian countries tend to place Northeast Asia at the cent er.

15 1. Long process of civil society engagement in ASEAN Since ASEAN establishment in 1967, ASEAN has shown a little interest in facilitating the participation of non-state actors in decision-making processes. However business community has involved in it directly or indirectly in particular in the 1980s and 90s. The academic community has also been playing a role in ASEAN. Indeed it was only after the economic crisis that more civil society organizations became involved in ASEAN and its activities, also largely as a result of the process of democratization in the area.

16 2. why CSOs were less engaged… in the perspective of CSOs The CSOs were less interested in ASEAN. – CSOs reflects an immediate responses to public need at grassroots – In general, CSOs are issue-oriented. – NGOs and grassroot organizations have been involved in various regional networks, most of their activities have focused on international institutions such as IMF, WB, WTO. – ASEAN was regarded as a weak body with little power to impact on the well-being of Southeast Asian people.

17 3. Reasons why CSOs should have more interests in … 1. 2020 vision to establish an East Asia community by 2020 It might be ambitious plan but has forced CSOs to take ASEAN more seriously. 2. Increasing opinion to look at ASEAN as a platform : Regional organizations can influence at the national and regional level. In particular, ASEAN FTAs negotiation process with China, Korea and other country have proceeded by regional level. 3. Aware of potential harms and benefits of ASEAN Can be a useful tool, a buffer to prevent the conflicts that plagued its member countries.

18 Networks and Forums for Engagement with East Asia Asia People’s Assembly ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC) ASEAN-ISIS :academic community Solidarity for Asian People’s Solidarity (SAPA).

19 SAPA Five regional and international organizations initiated to enhance the effectiveness of civil society engagement with the various inter-gov’ts process that have rapidly risen in the region. Working groups were established to discuss specific issues, in particular ASEAN Charter. However, only ASEAN working group is fully functioned. Still, regional integration process is not recognized as important issues in East Asian civil society.

20 Need to develop Innovative theoretical conceptualization on causes and effects of regional integration. Preconditions for successful Asian /sub-regional integration. Articulation of relationship between regionalism and alternatives to globalization and capitalism. Efforts to expand its concerned groups to Social movements, grassroots organization and various civic groups ; organizing teaching caravan or seminar Concrete and common issues as the mid-term goal ; for example, setting up Asian common action team on agricultural and energy issue.

21 Thank you !

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