Policy advice in earlier times with respect to the linkage between integration and security was based on a positive effect from the former to the latter. Subsequent improvements in security would also lower the impediments to integration that might otherwise be present. Since the circle was a virtuous one, then policy advice on integration could rest on its positive consequences for security. Benefits of further integration if anything would be understated. Different ways of thinking about the relationship of trade to security are presented. The complicating factors which have not been sufficiently studied are related to domestic political processes. This chapter highlights the reciprocal role of geopolitical relations and global economic relations in shaping the interests of domestic social groups in relation to strategies of trade and regional integration. These issues have been neglected by much of the existing literature on regional integration and the economics-security nexus. Economic relations and security relations are always linked through their mediation by domestic social groups. This linkage is traced through the evolution of institutions in East Asia. More recently, there has been the appearance of the emergence of competing regional regulatory and infrastructure projects. This very much complicates the advance of integration in the region in future.
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