Same Bed, Different Dreams: Prospects and Challenges for ASEAN+X Forums

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Koo, Min Gyo

Issue Date
Institute of International Affairs, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University
Journal of International and Area Studies, Vol.19 No.1, pp. 79-96
ASEAN+XEast Asia SummitNon-traditional securityTradeFinanceEnvironmentEnergy
The aim of this study is to explore the prospects and challenges for ASEAN+X forums: ASEAN+1,

+3 and +8 (or the East Asia Summit). On the one hand, many preferential economic arrangements that

involve East Asian countries aim to secure wider foreign policy goals rather than purely economic

goals, prominent examples of which include environment, energy, water, technology, human rights,

terrorism, and the like, let alone traditional security issues. On the other hand, the likelihood of a more

exclusive region in East Asia is slim at best, as member countries are sleeping in the same bed with

different dreams (tongchuan yimeng), leaving the institutional contours of East Asian regionalism in

flux. This study argues that the rivalry between China and Japan and the ambivalence of the U.S. have

led ASEAN+X forums to mainly focus on membership issues rather than to deal with substantive

regional issues. It concludes that now a tangle of regional institutions competes for attention and

resources, and as long as the ASEAN+1 and +8 framework (and more recently, the TPP and the

FTAAP) continues to coexist with ASEAN+3, the same bed, different dreams phenomenon will only

worsen to the point that the East Asian regionalism will get more polarized before it gets integrated.
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Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원)Dept. of International Studies (국제학과)Journal of International and Area Studies (JIAS)Journal of International and Area Studies vol.19 (2012)
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