The rise of china and the future of east asian integration
China is rising as the fastest growing largest economy and thereby leading a market-driven economic integration in East Asia. At the same time, nationalism is also rising and constraining East Asian countries from forming a state-driven regional community. This paper examines the political economy of interdependence and nationalism that is taking place in East Asia. Simply put, its central theme is that the degree of interdependence, especially between China and other countries, is deepening, and as a result, is pulling East Asia toward regional integration, but due to the rising tide of nationalism, it is far short of forming an actual community. In order to build a community, therefore, such economic trend must be propelled by political leadership and will. In elaborating on this thesis, the paper analyzes the trade and production networks centered on China, the efforts to promote regional integration in ASEAN + 3, the nationalist rivalry between Japan and China in negotiating FTAs, and the difficulties in achieving Sino-Japanese reconciliation. Finally, the paper proposes a Northeast Asian Forum among Japan, South Korea and China while the US remains as a stabilizing force in East Asia.
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