chapter  8
28 Pages

The United States and regional governance in East Asia: The changing face of American power


Much has been written about the declining influence of the United States (US) in East Asia, particularly in light of China’s growing power and the rising profile of regional groups, such as ASEAN plus Three (APT) and the East Asian Summit (EAS), which exclude Washington.1 Diplomatically, many observers point to the alienating effect that the US war on terrorism, the Iraq war and increased US unilateralism generally have had on East Asian countries. By contrast, China is often lauded for its nimble diplomacy and growing soft power. In terms of regional identity, moreover, the idea of ‘East Asia’ seems to have gained prominence at the expense of the ‘AsiaPacific’ construction preferred by the US, as evidenced by the vitality associated in recent years with ASEAN-centred processes compared to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.2