Envisioning a Northeast Asian community: regional and domestic factors to consider
The purpose of this chapter is to historically survey discussions on regionalism and regional community-building in Northeast Asia and barriers to development. First, the historical survey starts with Japan’s wartime slogan of “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere,” which brought about long-term indifference towards regionalism, not to mention a regional community, in Northeast Asian countries in the postwar period. Second, the analysis focuses on the proposals for a Northeast Asian community, presented by certain political leaders and myself in the post-Cold War era. The proposals not only reflected intellectual efforts for envisioning a regional community in times of transition in international relations but also mirrored changes in domestic politics, for example, democratic consolidation in South Korea. Third, this chapter examines the nature of two outstand-
ing issues awaiting resolution before community building: North Korea’s nuclear crisis and Japan’s recognition of the past militarism. Finally, it points out logical linkage between building Northeast Asian community and the emerging East Asian community.