A Political Economy Approach
Edited by Jehoon Park, T. J. Pempel and Heungchong Kim
Chapter 1: Introduction
Jehoon Park There are big differences between Northeast Asian regionalism and Asian regionalism. Northeast Asia refers to a rather specific geographical area.1 However, when it comes to Asia more broadly, geographic clarity disappears.2 Also Asia, however delimited, is vast and diverse in terms of scale, nationality, ethnicity, religion, language, culture, economic development and political systems. In that sense Asia cannot be simply defined. Therefore we need imagination. This is why scholars of humanities discuss Asia as a theme of discourse.3 The terminology of ‘Asian regionalism’ could be used with diverse meanings. Its recent use could be found in the theme of the conference organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) (2008). The flagship study on Emerging Asian Regionalism: A Partnership for Shared Prosperity highlights how to strengthen regional cooperation and analyzes the nature of Asia’s emerging regionalism, and the opportunities and challenges it poses. In this case, Asia includes the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea and India. The regionalism is also an economic regionalism because it discusses the extent of economic integration in Asia and the priorities for regional economic cooperation, including issues on trade, investment, financial integration, macroeconomic policy coordination, social issues and institutional development. However, Asian regionalism in this book covers politics or security as well as economics. ‘Asia’ is also still an openended concept, so that it covers subregions like Central Asia and South Asia. Also when we discuss Asian regionalism, we should indicate what kind of community...