China, Japan and Regional Leadership in East Asia
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China, Japan and Regional Leadership in East Asia

Edited by Christopher M. Dent

This book considers themes, evidence and ideas relating to the prospects for regional leadership in East Asia, with particular reference to China and Japan assuming ‘regional leader actor’ roles. Key issues discussed by the list of distinguished contributors include: • the extent to which there is an East Asian region to lead • China–Japan relations • different aspects of Japan and China’s positions in the East Asia region • how the seemingly inexorable rise of China is being addressed within the region • how China and Japan have explored paths of regional leadership through certain regional and multilateral organisations and frameworks • the position of certain ‘intermediary powers’ (i.e. the United States and Korea) with regards to regional leadership diplomacy in East Asia. Invaluably, the concluding chapter brings together the main findings of the book and presents new analytical approaches for studying the nature of, and prospects for leadership in East Asia.
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Chapter 1: What Region to Lead? Developments in East Asian Regionalism and Questions of Regional Leadership

Christopher M. Dent


Christopher M. Dent 1. INTRODUCTION East Asia is one of the world’s most dynamic, diverse and important regions. It is also becoming an increasingly coherent region through the interplay of various integrative economic, political and socio-cultural processes. This development is generally referred to as ‘regionalism’, and is highly relevant to questions of regional leadership in East Asia. For there to be regional leadership, there must be some sort of coherent regional entity to lead. However, this is problematic in the sense that the very nature and demarcations of the East Asia region are contested and it has extradimensional aspects. For example, should an East Asia regional community be based on an ASEAN Plus Three or East Asia Summit (that is, including India, Australia and New Zealand) grouping? Furthermore, to what extent can we disaggregate regional integrative processes in East Asia that are constituent to wider international or global integrative processes, for example regional production networks that are part of global production networks? This introductory chapter considers how East Asian regionalism has recently deepened in terms of its associative, integrational and organizational coherence, and notes the most important developments thereof. It then considers why regional leadership in East Asia is so important, and introduces the reader to the book’s key themes of discussion. These include: the functions, expectations and benefits of regional leadership; matters concerning agency, structure, norms, identity and values; governance structure and issue-based perspectives; how styles and modes of regional leadership may differ; and, what possible alternative...

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