A Comprehensive Introduction to Regional Issues
Edited by Masahisa Fujita, Ikuo Kuroiwa and Satoru Kumagai
Chapter 11: Institutional Building for Economic Integration in East Asia: A Brief History
11. Institution building for economic integration in East Asia: a brief history Jiro Okamoto This chapter reviews the historical development of institution building in East Asia and suggests prospects for the future. After World War II, the central theme of the newly independent states became the maintenance of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and policy autonomy; economic integration was not sought until the 1990s. Economic globalization and the end of the Cold War first encouraged ASEAN members to form AFTA, which served as a precedent for subsequent East Asian economic integration processes. The Asian financial crisis, along with other factors such as the stagnation in APEC and the WTO, acted as a trigger for East Asian regionalism in the form of the ASEAN+3 process. Since the turn of the century, a number of initiatives, agreements and frameworks have proliferated in and around East Asia. At this point in time, it seems that economic integration in the region is better understood when the processes are viewed as a whole, with a distinct nature that is flexible, inclusive and multi-layered. 11.1 THE END OF THE PACIFIC WAR AND THE CREATION OF ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE AND COOPERATION FRAMEWORKS 11.1.1 Decolonization and the Emergence of the Cold War Structure The end of the Pacific War brought epoch-making changes to the East Asia region both regionally and internationally. What produced the changes was not just the defeat of Japan as the aggressor in the region but also the region-wide decolonization that followed the end of the war....
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