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The World to Come: ASEAN's Political and Economic Prospects in the New Century
  1. Books - Asian Country Research @ Pitt - LibGuides at University of Pittsburgh
  2. Global Asia
  3. The Economy-Security Nexus in Northeast Asia
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Within this context, it is possible to understand how China and South Korea can successfully securitize Japan domestically yet fail to do so internationally. Outside of China and South Korea, few states legitimately see Japan as posing an existential threat. Therefore, China and South Korea's securitization of Japan have been successful with their respective domestic audiences but has failed to gain resonance with international audiences. The same is the case for India. Apart from Pakistan, no major state actively securitizes India's aspirations.

Politicization of India's role in South Asia is commonplace, but none of the smaller states in the region perceive India as an existential threat. The securitization of China, however, has found resonance beyond the domestic arenas of the states that have initiated this process. As a result, China and its assertive policies have become the referent object of securitization.

The target audiences are both domestic and international. Below are examples of the securitizing language aimed at China, although the list is far from exhaustive. For example, the Japanese Ministry of Defense has regularly identified China as a threat in its white papers because of its assertive policies. In addition to this, Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has likened the relationship between Japan and China to that of England and Germany on the eve of World War I, indicating his belief that the two powers are on the verge of a serious conflict Perlez The effectiveness of this securitization is facilitated by the convergence of consensus regarding China's actions between securitizing agents and the audience that they are addressing.

In this case, it is the perceived threat that China's actions pose to international norms such as freedom of navigation and unilateral efforts to change the status quo. In addition to this, the threat perceived from China's actions can be observed in polls conducted by the Pew Research Center, thus revealing the prerequisite context that is necessary for a securitizing agent to successfully securitize a referent object Balzacq This view remains largely unchanged in the version of the same survey and indicates that domestic sentiment is conducive for the successful securitization processes initiated by key agents Stokes As a result of the common securitization of China, there has been a convergence of interests which, as this study argues, has facilitated greater security engagement by Japan and India in the region.

Southeast Asia has had a long history of foreign interventions by great powers. In fact, one of the main motivations for the creation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN through the Bangkok Declaration in was to ensure regional and domestic stability free from external interference Weatherbee ASEAN was among the principal players in this socializing effort, particularly as the Chinese military modernization was perceived as being destabilizing for the region. This disparity has been the result of two key factors: i the political divisions among ASEAN members and ii the material limitations of these states to compel China to accept the existing order.

On two occasions, and , Cambodia has hindered the drafting of a joint statement regarding China's actions in the SCS. Ironically, one of the reasons for expanding ASEAN to include these states was the fear that they would fall into China's sphere of influence and lead to the division of Southeast Asia Khoo Nevertheless, despite of the internal divisions, ASEAN members remain collectively wary of China, although to varying degrees.

Even states that have been perceived as falling within China's sphere of influence have recognized that their overdependence on China has negatively impacted their economic and political interests Khoo As a result, while China continues to be an important economic player, its political and military assertiveness in the region has prompted key ASEAN states to securitize China, while simultaneously desecuritizing Japan, thus allowing, and even promoting, Tokyo's greater political and military involvement in Southeast Asia. Although Southeast Asian countries share similar collective memories of Japanese occupation and war crimes with their Northeast Asian counterparts, Japanese policy since the end of World War II has gone a long way to dissipate animosity towards Japan and thus desecuritize its status among Southeast Asian countries.

In other words, although grievances remain, particularly regarding the perceived lack of Japanese contrition concerning their occupation of Southeast Asia, the youth in Southeast Asian states, unlike their Northeast Asian counterparts, do not regard Japan as a threat and have come to view it as an important player in the development of the region Mun The positive response to Japan's normalization process is critical to understand how Japan has been effectively desecuritized by Southeast Asian states.

This desecuritization signals that Southeast Asian states no longer perceive Japan to be a threat and that its efforts to politically and militarily normalize in order to play a more proactive security role in the region are not seen as threatening but is in fact perceived as a positive development.

There have been a number of current and former Southeast Asian government officials' statements that have expressed support for greater Japanese security engagement in Southeast Asia, as well as expressed their desire for deeper defence cooperation with Tokyo. Common securitization of China is critical because it provides common ground for legitimizing greater Japanese security roles in Southeast Asia, something that would have otherwise been denied in the past. In fact, this initiative is the culmination of years of engagement between Japan and ASEAN members, which has resulted in defence cooperation agreements, as well as consensus building regarding their perspectives on China's actions in the region.

In other words, Japan and key Southeast Asian states have successfully externalized their securitization of China and have arrived at a shared understanding of the type of threat that China poses to the established regional and international normative order Garcia Unlike Japan, India did not need to go through a process of desecuritization. India's role during the postcolonial Cold War period helped shape Southeast Asia perception.

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Thus, the initial links between India and Southeast Asia in a postcolonial context remained unproblematic. In other words, India's interactions with Southeast Asian states were never politicized and consequently, securitized. However, Southeast Asia as a region was not monolithic in its relations with India.

These divisions, however, did not lead to the politicization or securitization of India. Furthermore, India's underperforming economy and its regional security concerns further limited its engagement with Southeast Asia and thus were not perceived as a state capable of projecting its military power in the region. India's engagement with Southeast Asia is a recent one. India's growing engagement with ASEAN, which later became subsumed under the umbrella term of its Look East policy, was primarily driven by prospects of economic collaboration. This economically driven partnership contributes to confidence building and inculcates a political environment that is devoid of securitization of India by Southeast Asian states.

Furthermore, India's naval preponderance in the Indian Ocean makes it an attractive strategic partner for the region. Other states in Southeast Asia have showcased growing security arrangements with India. As evident in the joint statements between India and several Southeast Asian states, there is emerging naval security collaboration, particularly the reaffirmation of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which directly relates to China's territorial claims in the East and SCSs. Furthermore, as will be discussed next, the fact that these states have accepted their respective roles in each other's regional policies suggests that there is greater unity in this nexus than what ASEAN has been able to manage regarding China's assertiveness.

Lastly, unlike ASEAN, Japan and India possess greater material capabilities that if used effectively, are more capable of balancing China's overwhelming power in the region and thus, possibly deter it from further challenging the established normative order. The emergence of this nexus is a result of a number of regional dynamics, all in which China and its assertive actions are the primary referent object of securitization.

This dynamic is the result of the securitization of China by key Southeast Asian states in light of its assertive policies, as well as the recognition that ASEAN's socialization of China has had limited success because of the material limitations of these states to compel China to accept the existing normative order. The second dynamic is the result of Japan's normalization, which while initially promoted by the United States and domestic nationalist elites has been accelerated as a result of Tokyo's securitization of Beijing's actions in the East and South China Sea.

The third dynamic is the result of India's greater engagement with ASEAN members, initially for economic reasons, but increasingly for political reasons in order to demonstrate its ability to project power beyond South Asia. This demonstration of power projection by India is seen as an important strategic goal, particularly as China has demonstrated its own ability to project into South Asia and the Indian Ocean Malik ; Brewster This recognition began in the signing of the India—Japan Joint Security Declaration, which set the course for further strategic partnership Brewster The declaration included cooperation in the creation of a new Asian security order, a point that is increasingly promoted by both countries.

Both states are committed to the need to keep the sea lanes of communication SLOC secure in the Indian Ocean region, as the area is of strategic importance for India given it is the country's maritime backyard. Japan's primary concerns regarding the SLOC derive from ensuring secure transportation of its energy supplies from the Middle East Khurana In essence, the emerging Indo—Japanese nexus is a part of the new security framework the two governments aspire to formulate following the Declaration, which is driven by the common security of the SLOC and galvanized by the common securitization of China.

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This nexus coincides with the growing role that Japan and India play in each other's vision for regional security. Additionally, domestic factors in Japan and India have significantly bolstered security arrangements between the two countries. Both Japan and India have witnessed the rise of governments in which security and the challenge of China's rise has been an important component.

Furthermore, signalling a growing collaboration between the two states, Abe's statement was an affirmation of his attempts at normalizing Japan's security policy in the region. India's position within Japan's renewed security strategy is predicated on concerns China and the vigorous foreign policy efforts by Prime Minister Abe.

Global Asia

Abe's second term, beginning in , elevated India's position within Japan's strategic framework. He ran on the platform of what would later be named the Democratic Security Diamond, which firmly entrenched major democratic states within the new Japanese led framework.

India's credential as the world's largest democracy made it an apt player in Japan's Democratic Security Diamond policy and validated its role in this new framework. Furthermore, Abe has found an ally in Narendra Modi, who is part of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party that shares the centrality of state security as a fundamental aspect of its policy outlook and thus welcomes India's role within the Japanese vision of regional security Chellaney A similar development has occurred with India's approach to Japan.

Initially, the Look East policy was an attempt to diversify India's historically limited role in South Asia. Since the election of Narendra Modi, India's foreign policy extended to more rigorous relations with Japan apart from the initial emphasis on Southeast Asia. ASEAN must respond to the problems — and the challenges — of rapid technological change, of migratory capital, and of globalization.

East Asian Library

Adjustments in the economy must be accompanied by adjustments in the political order. The time-honored institutions of mushawarah and mufakat — consultation and consensus — still seem the best modes for organizing regional agreement on collective action by partners of diverse strengths, cultures, and methods of governance. But, as our countries themselves develop, as their fledgling democracies evolve, so must ASEAN change as it matures. In the beginning, economic cooperation was the least controversial topic on which to anchor the concept of one East Asia now. It is to a convergence of national goals that East Asia owed its initial stability.

Turning away from ideology and partisanship in the cold war, they adopted the market economy with its culture of private property and entrepreneurial capitalism. The initial results were growth rates unprecedented in regional history — and dramatic reductions in regional poverty. Will they once again set the pace for the developing world — as they did over this last generation? The Columbia University economist Jagdish Bhagwati thinks they will. The U. At that point, U. Under the impact of globalization, the international economy is segmenting into various functional levels of hierarchy.

Some cooperative economic arrangements are best made within national units or even subunits. Others are easier achieved at the regional level — and some are attainable only at the global level. Such a balance it sees as necessary — to prevent the stronger and more efficient economies from swamping the weaker ones. But this balance will not be achieved unless each side brings some clout to the negotiating table.

Trade within East Asia is fast expanding. Intra-regional investments are becoming just as important — Japan and South Korea being the leading investors in both ASEAN and China, and we may expect these synergies of trade and investment to intensify, as each batch of East Asian economies moves up to the development ladder.

China, Japan and south Korea seem to have accepted the idea of an East Asian economic grouping enthusiastically. It will work, through this year and the next, to propose concrete steps for closer political, economic and cultural cooperation in East Asia. Let me now turn to the East Asian political landscape of the early years of the 21st century.

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Some western analysts argue that, if East Asia is economically vigorous, it is also politically fragile. And it is true there is still no regional status quo to which every regional power subscribes. In China, North Korea, Myanmar, and Indonesia, the military possesses a great deal of political power. And open markets, interregional trade and economic growth have barely papered over historical grievances, irredentist claims, and quarrels over geopolitical resources.

The Economy-Security Nexus in Northeast Asia

Ballistic missiles are being built competitively on the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan straits. North Korea may have already developed the capability to target Alaska and the American west coast with its missiles; it has proved it can easily reach the vulnerable Japanese mainland. South Korea is negotiating with the United States the lengthening of the reach of its own missile systems, and Japan has agreed to take part in an American proposal for the coverage of its heartland by a theater-missile-defense system.

Japan is also launching its own spy satellites — to give it independently early warning of any potential missile threat. Development schemes that ASEAN is already packaging -such as the Mekong river project and the Singapore-Kunming rail link — will stimulate growth in these countries. But they will need a lot of capital, technology and years to harvest significant benefits. In Myanmar, the ruling generals and their civilian opposition have reached a stalemate, which neither side is willing to break.

This basic stability we may expect to prevail over the next 10 years or so. During this period, East Asian leaders must nurture cooperative habits and self-help attitudes — to enable the region to replace the regional stability now enforced by American arms with a more enduring, interwoven stability of an Asia-Pacific community. The institutional tools for achieving this ideal are already on the ground. The two are complementary tying together otherwise disparate states in networks of common purpose. Because their own relationship are still unstable, the great powers with interests in East Asia have been content to let ASEAN take the initiative on regional security problems.

APEC has even adopted its negotiating methods derived from traditional Malay governance of mushawara and mufakat. Started in , the ARF developed from the yearly conferences at which the ASEAN Foreign Ministers invite their counterparts from key countries to talk informally about current political and diplomatic issues. At the moment, the ASEAN Regional Forum seems the only practical way of evolving Asia-Pacific Cooperation in Political and Security matters — given the disparities in interest, power and even diplomatic style among the countries taking part in its councils.

It accentuates the positive focusing not on controversy, but on areas of common interest from which multilateral cooperation can be developed. Divisive issues it simply passes over for later resolution or waits out until they have been made irrelevant by time and events. APEC itself is working toward the same goal by organizing free trade and open investments among the countries of the Pacific Rim, programmed for completion by Dense regional networks associated with ASEAN bring together statesmen, business-leaders, intellectuals and ordinary people from all around East Asia.

From these broadening networks could also emerge an East Asian consensus on the reform of the International Financial Framework. The benign hegemony the United States is able to exercise in the region and in the world derives from its commanding lead in the technological and ideological — revolution that has been taking place over this last 20 years of so. Japan itself is likely to be more assertive regionally in the future. Unlike their Russian Communist counterparts, had to give up political power.

They have offered the Chinese people economic development in exchange for their continued central control. But any further deepening of economic reform is virtually impossible without some accompanying reform of its political system. Historically, China — during the periods it had been unified and stable has always exercised a natural preeminence in our part of the world. How China exercises its potential political and military power must concern all the countries of the Asia-Pacific — and none more so than us in East Asia.

Who are among the closest neighbors.


We want the market system to succeed in China. In Taiwan, economic growth and democratization are raising the odds against Chinese reunification. Fortunately, cross-straits trade and investment are pulling the island towards more moderate directions.