APEC's Development since 1989: Four Adjectives in Search of a Noun?

Article excerpt

Like most successful organizations, APEC was formed after a long period of preparatory work and in response to forces that were already well established. In particular, APEC grew out of the ever-increasing levels of economic co-operation in the region, and the need to manage and enhance these maturing linkages.

Ideas for some kind of pan-Pacific organization surfaced in Japan as early as 1960, along with proposals for an Asian Development Fund.2 The idea was clearly designed to promote Japan's emerging role in regional consolidation, and during the 1960s the concept was further developed by Japanese academics and policy-makers, largely associated with the Japan Economic Research Center. It was proposed that annual meetings be held to discuss area of common interest in the region, and this was taken a stage further in 1967 when Foreign Minister Miki endorsed an Asia-Pacific policy for Japan. Also in 1967, one of the important building blocks of APEC, the Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC), was established, bringing together private sector representatives from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States. The strong development of Australia-Japan relations during this period encouraged the two countries to work very closely together to promote the general idea of regional co-operation. Interested academics provided much impetus throughout this time, and much of the international dialogue took place in a "second track" format.

During the late 1970s, the emergence of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also began to be influential in the wider region, and this organization was enthusiastically embraced by the Japanese Government. In 1977, Prime Minister Fukuda made a major tour of the ASEAN countries, and enunciated the Fukuda Doctrine of "heart-to-heart diplomacy". In the late 1970s and early 1980s, strong U.S. …