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East Asian Soft Power and East Asian Governance

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Lee, Geun

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Institute of International Affairs, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University
Journal of International and Area Studies, Vol.16 No.1, pp. 53-66
Global GovernanceSoft PowerEast Asian GovernanceEast Asian StandardEast Asian ConsensusNational Safety Net
The purpose of this paper is to critically review the current discourses on global governance and to suggest an East Asian view of alternative governance mechanism from the perspective of soft power. This paper argues that many countries in the East Asian region have been either reluctantly or unknowingly following the global governance building, led by the Western countries, and therefore have failed to build a safety net for themselves in the form of a region or regional cooperation. Global governance is connected to the realm of soft power as it affects the preferences and behaviors of the actors while regarding the actual use of physical coercive forces as a last resort. Therefore, it is necessary to expand the discourse of global governance to include the discussion of soft power, and the East Asian region may need to develop its safety net by creating its own soft power and regional governance mechanism. Here, speech acts and standard setting are the prerequisites in developing East Asian soft power. Therefore this paper argues that East Asian actors use the concepts like the East Asian Governance, East Asian Standard, East Asian Consensus more frequently and intensely than before even if those terms still do not have concrete substances and contents to be inter-subjectively taken by the actors in the region. As people use and speak of the terms more often and intensely, there will be more concrete efforts by the East Asian actors to substantiate the concepts, and the contents of East Asian governance will gradually evolve.
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