Working Group Report on Overall Architecture of Community Building in East Asia
 
Introduction
 
The NEAT Working Group on Overall Architecture of Community Building in East Asia, sponsored by NEAT Japan, was held on April 24, 2005 in TokyoJapan.  All 13 NEAT countries were invited to the Working Group meeting and a total of 22 participants from all 13 countries attended (A Concept Paper for the Working Group, Agenda and List of Participants are attached as Annex 1,2 and 3 respectively.)  Following adoption of the Agenda, the Moderator's proposal to conduct the meeting in a manner conducive to free and full discussions was unanimously approved and most intensive and fruitful discussion took place with the active participation of all members.
 
Community Building has now emerged as a shared future agenda in East Asia.  Since the formulation of ASEAN plus Japan, China and Korea (ASEAN+3) Summit in 1997, the ASEAN+3 has provided a common ground of deepening process of East Asian cooperation.  There are presently no less than 48 meetings under 17 areas under the aegis of ASEAN+3 on the subjects such as finance, trade and investment, IT, development assistance, energy, health etc.  These various levels of functional cooperation have played key roles for community building in East Asia.
 
East Asia is also a most promising center of economic and political dynamism in the world.  Growing regional economic and socio-cultural interdependence ―de facto integration― has brought about ever-increasing awareness of shared sense of community. East Asia has thus been provided a unique opportunity to design its architecture for future political, economic and socio-cultural interactions and exchanges.  While a de facto community building is underway, we need to address clear visions, scopes and measures for the East Asian Community by designing the future architecture.
The East Asia Vision Group (EAVG) in 2001 has introduced and the East Asia Study Group (EASG) in 2002 has reiterated the spirit and principles for the community building in East Asia.  Based on these two reports, with taking the recent progress into account, the NEAT Working Group on Overall Architecture of Community Building in East Asia endeavors to envision the concrete view on future goals, norms, and mechanisms for East Asian Community.
 
Guiding Principles for Community Building in East Asia
 
1. Peace, Prosperity and Progress
 
The goal of community building in East Asia should be the realization of the East Asian vision of cooperative ‘Peace, Prosperity and Progress'.  The East Asian Community must promote peace by building trust, confidence and ensuring the mutual security.  The community should promote prosperity by increased interdependence of trade, investment and technologies.  The community should also promote improved governance, strengthened basic human rights and advanced quality of life of people, in conformity with universally recognized values, including democracy and the rule of law, as well as global norms and systems. These visions should be built based on the evolutionary and building-block approaches.
 
2. Openness, Transparency and Comprehensiveness
 
East Asia should promote openness to enhance the interaction with other actors and regions.  Transparency is also crucial for East Asiato be credible, reliable and accountable community. Comprehensive efforts in a broad array of in economic, socio-cultural, political and security fields must be employed.  Community building should also invite comprehensive sectors of society – governments, private sectors, civil societies and the people to mobilize the creative energy.
 
3. Shared Regional Identity
 
A regional community cannot exist without a shared regional identity.  Fostering feelings of empathy and identity should be encouraged by the members of the community to share problems, prospects and destinies of each other.  Identity building belongs to the actors who can care for each other and prosper each other.
 
4. Equal Partnership with Shared Ownership
 
The East Asian Community must be based on the equal partnership.  No member should  dominate or pursue hegemony in the community but it must be managed democratically.  The community also must be based on the shared ownership.  All members should actively participate for the community building.
 
5. Flexible and Open Functional Cooperation
Promoting various areas of functional cooperation remains important driving force for the foundation of community building.  In order to promote effective functional cooperation, actors who have the capability and the willingness should be encouraged to participate.
 
 
Architecture of Community Building in East Asia Asia
  • The East Asian Community is non-exclusive, compatible and mutually complementary with global regimes, other regional frameworks and bilateral arrangements.  The community should explore the possibility of enhanced interactions and linkages with other global/regional/bilateral frameworks.
  • East Asia should work together for more visible East Asian representation in international community, especially in the areas of UN organizations, IMF, World Bank etc., and also should pursue the partnership with the regional organization such as APEC, ARF, ASEM, FEALAC, Asia-Africa Conference and other Pacific cooperation.The East Asian Community is a dynamic process of evolution.  The community should continue enhancing intra-regional cooperation, promote the basic rights and welfare of people, and improve governance, in conformity with universally recognized values, including democracy and the rule of law, as well as global norms and systems. While ASEAN+3 is an important foundation of East Asian Community, the community is open for the fullest cooperation with other actors who share its vision and norms and become a partner of  East Asia.
  • ASEAN has played a key role in promoting regional cooperation in East Asia.  In particular, Bali Concord II with three communities (economic, security, and socio-cultural community) proposal will continue to propel region-wide efforts for community building.
  • Narrowing the development gap between the developed East Asian countries and developing countries such as CambodiaLaosMyanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) is crucial for the community building.  The Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) should be expanded to an Initiative for East Asian Integration (IEAI).
  • Northeast Asian cooperation among JapanChina and Korea is essential for the foundation of East Asian Community.  Three countries should tighten Northeast Asian cooperation by further utilizing the current summit meeting on the occasion of the ASEAN+3 summit, and consider additional meetings to be regularized.
  • While ASEAN+3 Summit and other substantial cooperation based on ASEAN+3 continue to be major vehicles to promote community building, the East Asian Summit (EAS) should be utilized to have strategic dialogue among countries that play essential roles in East Asia.
  • Institution building is essential for promotion of community building.  Among them, a strong and effective secretariat for East Asian cooperation is needed.  The work of secretariat should be supported by the members of the East Asian community. It may be desirable to establish an East Asian Information Center for collecting, analyzing and disseminating the information regarding East Asian cooperation process.
  • As the functional cooperation is conducted in the areas of a wide-range of issues, the optimum modality of the cooperation differs from one issue to another.  Nevertheless, ‘openness', ‘flexibility' and ‘transparency' are key characteristics for effective functional cooperation in East Asia.
  • Constant review processes are necessary for each area of functional cooperation in order to promote information sharing and to avoid duplication with other frameworks.  The strong and effective secretariat could serve to promote transparency that would lead to effective policy coordination and to avoid undesirable side-effect of functional cooperation.
  • East Asian countries should strengthen the networks of researchers and scholars through promoting Track-II activities to support official processes in East Asia.  Engaging civil-societies and NGOs in various types of functional cooperation should also be encouraged.
  • East Asian Countries should strengthen educational, media and youth exchanges.  The ASEAN University Network should be expanded to an East Asian University Network.  Exchange programs of journalists and editors and youth in East Asia should be promoted.
  • Translations of academic and policy-oriented research works originally written in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other Southeast Asian languages into English should be promoted.
 
Architecture to Promote Functional Cooperation in East Asia
  • As the functional cooperation is conducted in the areas of a wide-range of issues, the optimum modality of the cooperation differs from one issue to another.  Nevertheless, ‘openness', ‘flexibility' and ‘transparency' are key characteristics for effective functional cooperation in East Asia.
  • Constant review processes are necessary for each area of functional cooperation in order to promote information sharing and to avoid duplication with other frameworks.  The strong and effective secretariat could serve to promote transparency that would lead to effective policy coordination and to avoid undesirable side-effect of functional cooperation.
  • East Asian countries should strengthen the networks of researchers and scholars through promoting Track-II activities to support official processes in East Asia.  Engaging civil-societies and NGOs in various types of functional cooperation should also be encouraged.
  • East Asian Countries should strengthen educational, media and youth exchanges.  The ASEAN University Network should be expanded to an East Asian University Network.  Exchange programs of journalists and editors and youth in East Asia should be promoted.
  • Translations of academic and policy-oriented research works originally written in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other Southeast Asian languages into English should be promoted.
 
 
Architecture to Promote Regional Identity in East Asia
  • Identity building is an essential element of community building in East Asia.  It is an evolutionary project of all East Asians to develop ‘we' feelings out of increasing mutual exchanges and understanding.  East Asian people should learn from ASEAN's historical undertaking for  its community building.
  • Culturally, the region is extremely diverse.  The region has inherited various world great civilizations ranging from Confucianism, Buddhism, Islamic, Hinduism and Christian traditions.  Such diversity in culture and religions should not be regarded as an obstacle but a rich foundation  for identity building.
  • While the architecture to promote regional identity in East Asia would not start from the blueprint, the architectural visions and principle are needed.  Fostering feelings of empathy and identity should be encouraged by the members of the community to share problems, prospects and destinies of each other.  Identity building belongs to all East Asians who should  care for each other and help prosper each other.
  • East Asian Countries should promote mutual understanding of history and culture.  Joint research activities on history and culture should be accelerated.  Efforts  to create academic curriculums for East Asian studies from elementary to college levels should be encouraged.
  • East Asian countries should strengthen the foundation of communication and media.  Increased coverage of East Asian affairs in TV, radio, internet, newspapers and magazines should be promoted.  Narrowing the digital divide among countries in East Asia is essential to share the benefit of such communications.
  • As the functional cooperation is conducted in the areas of a wide-range of issues, the optimum modality of the cooperation differs from one issue to another.  Nevertheless, ‘openness', ‘flexibility' and ‘transparency' are key characteristics for effective functional cooperation in East Asia.
  • Constant review processes are necessary for each area of functional cooperation in order to promote information sharing and to avoid duplication with other frameworks.  The strong and effective secretariat could serve to promote transparency that would lead to effective policy coordination and to avoid undesirable side-effect of functional cooperation.
  • East Asian countries should strengthen the networks of researchers and scholars through promoting Track-II activities to support official processes in East Asia.  Engaging civil-societies and NGOs in various types of functional cooperation should also be encouraged.
  • East Asian Countries should strengthen educational, media and youth exchanges.  The ASEAN University Network should be expanded to an East Asian University Network.  Exchange programs of journalists and editors and youth in East Asia should be promoted.
  • Translations of academic and policy-oriented research works originally written in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other Southeast Asian languages into English should be promoted.
  • Identity building is an essential element of community building in East Asia.  It is an evolutionary project of all East Asians to develop ‘we' feelings out of increasing mutual exchanges and understanding.  East Asian people should learn from ASEAN's historical undertaking for  its community building.
  • Culturally, the region is extremely diverse.  The region has inherited various world great civilizations ranging from Confucianism, Buddhism, Islamic, Hinduism and Christian traditions.  Such diversity in culture and religions should not be regarded as an obstacle but a rich foundation  for identity building.
  • While the architecture to promote regional identity in East Asia would not start from the blueprint, the architectural visions and principle are needed.  Fostering feelings of empathy and identity should be encouraged by the members of the community to share problems, prospects and destinies of each other.  Identity building belongs to all East Asians who should  care for each other and help prosper each other.
  • East Asian Countries should promote mutual understanding of history and culture.  Joint research activities on history and culture should be accelerated.  Efforts  to create academic curriculums for East Asian studies from elementary to college levels should be encouraged.
  • East Asian countries should strengthen the foundation of communication and media.  Increased coverage of East Asian affairs in TV, radio, internet, newspapers and magazines should be promoted.  Narrowing the digital divide among countries in East Asia is essential to share the benefit of such communications.

Network of East Asian Think-Tanks

The Network of East Asian Think-tanks

     
Officially recognized at the “10+3" summit meeting, Network of East Asian Think-tanks (NEAT) is a mechanism for research and academic exchange, and a platform for the second-track diplomacy in the regional cooperation among “10+3" countries in East Asia. It aims at integrating the research resources in East Asia, promoting the academic exchanges and providing intellectual support for East Asian cooperation. To be more specific, by establishing a network among East Asian think-tanks, governments and enterprises and promoting the interaction of these three circles, it intends to study the key issues related to East Asian cooperation, work out strategic ideas and concrete policy suggestions for the regional integration and submit research reports to the “10+3" summit meeting.
 
In 2002, East Asian Studies Group (EASG), the second-track in the mechanism of East Asian cooperation, suggested 17 short-term measures to be taken for closer cooperation among East Asian nations, among which was establishing “Network of East Asian Think-tanks" (NEAT) within the framework of “10+3" regional cooperation. The suggestion was adopted at the informal meeting of “10+3"leaders held in Phnom PenhCambodia in September 2002.
 
The activities of NEAT fall into the following categories: 1) Hold annual conferences of NEAT members to promote exchanges among East Asian think tanks and submit an annual work report to the informal meeting of “10+3" leaders on the basis of the research of the key issues in East Asian integration process; 2) Set up a website of NEAT, bridging the governments with the academic circles, promoting the academic exchanges among scholars about East Asia, and educating the masses in the region; 3) Hold irregular international seminars on East Asian cooperation so as to facilitate the theoretic research on the integration and community building of East Asia and help to shape the theoretic framework, strategies and specific policies conducive to the regional cooperation in East Asia. 4) Cooperate in the research of the key issues in regional cooperation and figure out the solutions.
 
The founding as well as the first annual conference of NEAT was held in Beijing from September 29 to 30, 2003. There were delegates from the think tanks of all the member states at the conference. The three topics discussed were “Towards East Asian Cooperation", Important Steps Leading to East Asian Cooperation" and “Key Areas in East Asia Cooperation". The conference report was not only published, but also distributed at the “10+3" leaders meeting in 2003.