US Role in the Leadership of Economic Integration in East Asia

By Ge, Cui | Canadian Social Science, July 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

US Role in the Leadership of Economic Integration in East Asia


Ge, Cui, Canadian Social Science


Abstract

The leadership issue of East Asia Economic Integration has been greatly conditioned by the international system, especially by US. This paper expounds US role in the leadership issue of East Asia economic integration from both perspectives of East Asian countries and US. Plenty of East Asian countries rely on US as the leader in politics, an indispensible partner in economy, the "Umbrella" for security and the "Balancer" in geopolitical strategy. At the same time, Washington is concerned about another regional integration in East Asia like the European Union led by France and Germany US tries to guarantee its leadership in this area through maintaining the complexion of ASEAN functioning as leadership, and China and Japan containing each other. Therefore, East Asia countries have to take into thorough consideration the response and interests of US while promoting regional economic cooperation.

Key words: US; East Asia; Economic integration

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-USASCII text omitted.)

The economic cooperation and integration in East Asia has been worked up in recent decades. The birth of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) dates back to August, 1967. Up to 1999, ASEAN had enrolled 10 members in Southeast Asia. As of 2006, the ASEAN region has a population of about 560 million, a total area of 4.5 million square kilometers, a combined gross domestic product of almost $ 1,100 billion, and a total trade of about $ 1,400 billion. In January, 2003, the FTA (freetrade area) of China and ASEAN started up, with freeduty in trade as the goal. In the past several years, ASEAN and China, Japan and ROC (Republic of Korea) paced up their negotiation on bilateral trade agreements; a comprehensive and mature framework of "10+3" (ASEAN + China, Japan and ROK), even extending to that of "10+6" (ASEAN + China, Japan, ROK, Australia, India and New Zealand), is in the process of formation. However, the development of Integration in East Asia also encountered series of problems, among which, how to handle the relation with US has a great impact on the speed, direction, pattern and quality of the course. It even determines whether the integration can be achieved or not. The paper will open with US strategic concern in the area in question, and address the impact and challenge that East Asia's integration can bring to the US. The paper is going to focus on US' eagerness to dominate the integration process and its attempt to include East Asia in APEC framework. What can be seen is that the affective factor takes its effect here: US keeps holding a subtle and complex feeling towards the issue and keeps making efforts to lead the game playing among East Asian countries. The paper will contribute suggestions on how to try for a win-win situation where both United States can retain the vested interests in this area and East Asia can smooth away difficulties on the road to integration.

1. US STRATEGIC CONCERN IN EAST ASI A

Geologically, the United States are far beyond East Asia. But it weighs as the most crucial one among the exterior influential factors in terms of the process of local economic integration. US views East Asia as one among its strategic emphasis and maintains a close tie with almost all the nations in this region in sense of economy, politics and security. From 1989 to 2005, the export to APEC states accounts for 73.22% of the total amount, among which, China, Japan, KOC and ASEAN ("10+3") share 24.38%; the import from APEC is 80.28% of totality, among which, "10+3" occupy 38.51%. Simultaneously, East Asia is one of significant link in US military security. Altogether there are seven hot issues posing threats to its global strategic security - the Middle East, Balkan, Kashmir, Korean Peninsula, Taiwan, South China Sea, and Iraq - three of which are in East Asia. For this reason, US adjusts its military deployment, enforce its alliance relations with Japan, Australia and Philippine, and develop its cooperation in the war against terrorism with Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. …

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