The 52nd Meeting of "Diplomatic Roundtable"
on "The Economic-Security Nexus and East Asian Regionalism" Held

JFIR and its two sister organizations, the Global Forum of Japan and the Council on East Asian Community, taking advantage of an occasion of a visit to Japan of a prominent person on international and other affairs, monthly organize a "Diplomatic Roundtable" meeting, which is an informal gathering of members of the three organizations for a frank exchange of views and opinions with the visiting guest. The 52nd "Diplomatic Roundtable" was held on 27 August 2009 on the topic of "The Economic-Security Nexus and East Asian Regionalism". An outline of the presentation of Thomas J. PEMPEL, Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, was as follows.

The institutional architecture of East Asian Regionalism is multi-layered and complex, indicating functions of "institutional Darwinism" in which good institutions survive and bad institutions ebb away. Meanwhile, a marked imbalance could be observed between institutionally cohesive ties in the field of economics, deepened through responses to external shocks, and much less cohesive ties in the field of security, where there are no common external enemies for the region and only endogenous threats abound. Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98 triggered the rise of regionalism in East Asia, and paved the way for further formalizing economic integration in the region. Such intra-governmental frameworks for regional cooperation as ASEAN Plus Three, East Asia Summit and Chaing Mai Initiative, started all together, because, within the region, there was a shared strong need of a mechanism with which to buffer against similar financial crises in the future coming from outside the region. Trends in the field of security, on the other hand, take on an aspect of "cockpit for great powers." Thus, there is the nexus between the security conditions which are "ripe for rivalry," and economic conditions which are "ripe for cooperation," in which progress in one area spills over to the other either for the worse or for the better. In this connection, we should attach importance to several trilateral frameworks such as Japan-China-Korea, Japan-US-China, or Japan-US-Australia. Japan-China-Korea Summit meeting, in particular, was epoch-making. We should enhance cooperative ties within this framework both in economics and in security. As far as US is concerned, she is expected to return to Asia under President Obama, who shifted US foreign policy from a unilateral to a multilateral approach. Given that many issues in East Asia could not be solved without US commitment, it is vitally important for the countries in the region to seek common interests with US and jointly strive to construct a regional order in East Asia.


The Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR)