Political Conflict and Economic Integration
Edited by Jehoon Park, T. J. Pempel and Gérard Roland
Chapter 4: Northeast Asian Regional Integration: Regional Theories, Current Realities and Future Prospects
Young Jong Choi INTRODUCTION The global wave of regionalism has ﬁnally reached Northeast Asia, a hotspot of unprecedented economic dynamism and anachronistic nuclear threats. The visualization of an FTA linking South Korea, China and Japan has been undergoing a reality test ever since the then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji proposed it in November 2002 on the basis of a joint research project carried out by para-governmental research institutions in the respective countries (Munakata, 2006, pp. 128–9). Along with such a proposal, a bilateral FTA between South Korea and Japan has been in negotiation and may be around the corner, although the ﬁnal stage of oﬃcial negotiation has become stalled. Both the South Korean and Chinese governments are also showing keen interest in establishing their own bilateral FTA. The leaders of South Korea, China and Japan have regular trilateral meetings, and the three countries have also developed regular ministerial meetings on trade, ﬁnance, communication, and the environment. At the ASEANϩ3 meeting in October 2003 in Bali, the ‘Plus Three’ countries issued a Joint Declaration aimed at promoting trilateral cooperation. The Declaration pledges further cooperation and dialogue on economic, cultural, educational, environmental, political–military and security issues, and the leaders also agreed to set up a trilateral committee to promote and implement the cooperative agreements. This institutional arrangement, along with the rapid expansion of economic exchanges, has laid a strong foundation for trilateral cooperation. At the Seventh Trilateral Leaders’ Meeting of South Korea, China and Japan held in Cebu...
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