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Research:Publications:Asian Regional Integration Review (ARIR)

“Asian Regional Integration Review Vol. 4 ”has been published just now.



Tsuneo Akaha

After the publication, in March 2011, of Volume 3 of the Asian Regional Integration Review, the process of Asian regional integration showed notable progress but also hit some difficult barriers. Market-driven regional integration deepened, with intra-regional trade among Asian countries expanding as a proportion of their global trade. The South Korean-US Free Trade Agreement (ROKUS FTA) that was concluded in June 2007 was finally approved by US Congress in October 2011 and ratified by South Korea's National Assembly in November 2011. This was followed by Japan's announcement that it was joining the United States, Australia, Malaysia and Peru in the negotiation for the 21st-century Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), originally concluded in June 2005 by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore. The East Asia Summit (EAS) expanded from its original 16 members that met in Kuala Lumpur in December 2005 to 18 countries with the addition of the United States and Russia at the sixth summit in Bali, Indonesia in November 2011. The post-2008 global financial crisis continued to threaten the financial health of many Asian economies. With Japan's rudderless political system experiencing a succession of six prime ministers in as many years, the nation appeared unable to put an end to its now two-decades-long economic doldrums and lead the regional integration movement. In contrast, China sustained its high economic growth and was poised to further expand its influence in regional integration, although there were visible signs of domestic trouble due to growing wealth gaps among its population and widespread corruption among its political leaders. The Sino-Japanese rivalry for regional leadership and the maritime border disputes between China and its neighbors around the East and the South China Seas posed serious obstacles to the growth of Asian regionalism. The March 11 earthquake and tsunami and the consequent nuclear plant disaster that struck northeast Japan highlighted the importance of regional cooperation in the protection and promotion of human security in Asia. Southeast Asia saw a further strengthening of the ASEAN-centered framework for regional security dialog and cooperation, while in Northeast Asia the Six-Party Talks, involving North and South Korea, China, Japan, and the United States, failed to find a solution to the nuclear weapons and missile development in North Korea. Moreover, the hurriedly prepared succession of power from Kim Jong-il, who died, reportedly of a heart attack, in December 2011, to his young son, Kim Jong-un, raised serious questions about the future political stability of North Korea and the prospects for Korean reunification.

Regional integration has economic, political, security, and social-cultural dimensions and the articles in this volume touch upon issues in all of them. The analyses by Koga, Larsson, Zhang, Orosa, and Cebulak were selected from among the papers presented at the “Joint Summer Institute 2011 on Europe-Asia: Comparative Regional Integration,” organized by GIARI (Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration) of Waseda University and Erasmus Mundus-GEM (Globalization, the EU & Multilateralism) PhD School, at Waseda University on August 1-5, 2011. The members of the Review's Editorial Board, Managing Editor and Associate Editor reviewed and commented on the original papers and the authors revised them by incorporating the feedback received from the reviewers and participants in the Summer Institute. The articles by Koga, Larsson, and Orosa focus directly on regional integration issues in Asia, while the articles by Larsson and Cebulak, relate only indirectly to regional integration in the Asian context. All the works represent creative applications by young scholars of theoretical insights and analytical frameworks provided by senior researchers in International Relations, Regional Integration, and International Law Studies. The young scholars analyze the institutionalization of multilateral security dialog and cooperation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, ASEAN+3 (China, South Korea and Japan); the possibility of China-EU cooperation regarding Iran's nuclear program; China's engagement in ASEAN+3; ASEAN's approach to human rights; and international legal orders and the development of international human rights law.

The volume also includes three book reviews - on changes in national trade policy strategies in the Asia-Pacific, institutions for economic integration in Asia, and the possibility of the break-up of the Atlantic community of Western democracies and recurrence of geopolitical rivalry among them. They offer largely favourable views but also venture to critique the works on regional integration by well-known senior scholars. Thus, the Review offers a forum for scholarly dialogue between generations of students of regional integration and between analysts focusing on different regions of the world.

In the Editor's view, the analyses presented and the works discussed in this issue of the Review raise more questions than they answer. The complex and fluid nature of the sometimes cooperative and sometimes competitive relationships among the major Asian powers, the gradual institutionalization of multilateral cooperation in regional political, security, and economic issues and the yet uncertain future of regionalism and regionalization in Asia demand rigorous analyses by students of regional integration, young and old, Asian and non-Asian, and with a variety of disciplinary training. Also required are studies that describe and explain the discernible patterns of cooperation and discord, as well as address normative questions about the measures to be taken by regional leaders if they are to catch up with, if not emulate, the architects of more advanced regional integration schemes in Europe and North America. It is hoped that the Review will provide a platform for stimulating such studies.

Finally, the Editor wishes to thank the authors included in this issue for contributing to the deepening of our collective understanding of the promises and challenges of regional integration in Asia, the members of the Editorial Board for offering ideas and encouragement for this academic endeavour, and GIARI for providing the material and moral support to publish this young journal. Lastly but not the least, the Editor also offers his heartfelt thanks to Dr. Christian Wirth, Associate Editor, and the two Editorial Assistants, Ms. Mitsuko Akaha and Ms. Shoko Miyano, for their tireless and timely service in the editorial process.


Editor's Note
Tsuneo Akaha

Research Articles

  • Explaining the Transformation of ASEAN's Security Functions in East Asia: The Cases of ARF and ASEAN+3
    Kei Koga
  • The Security Governance of China and the European Union Towards the Nuclear Program of Iran―Future Security Cooperation Made Possible?
    Maria Larsson
  • ASEAN Plus Three (APT) as a Socializing Environment: China's Approach to the Institutionalization of APT
    Jiuan Zhang
  • ASEAN Integration in Human Rights: Problems and Prospects for Legalization and Institutionalization
    Theoben Jerdan C. Orosa
  • Relations between Legal Orders in Postnational Law: Constitutionalism, Pluralism and the Role of Human Rights
    Pola Cebulak

Book Review Essays

  • Vinod K. Aggarwal and Seungjoo Lee, eds., Trade Policy in the Asia-Pacific: The Role of Ideas, Interests and Domestic Institutions, New York: Springer, 2011
    Hideyuki Miura
  • Institutions for Regional Integration: Toward an Asian Economic Community, Manila: Asian Development Bank, 2010
    Jeet Bahadur Sapkota
  • Charles A. Kupchan, How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010
    Christian Wirth

Asian Regional Integration Review Vol. 4