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Concept Paper
NEAT Working Group on Institutional Sustainability of NEAT
Towards the East Asian Community
March 2016
Institutional Sustainability of NEAT towards the East Asian Community
The Network of East Asian Think-Thanks (NEAT) has functioned as a pivotal intellectual venue for sharing ideas and promoting mutual understanding towards the East Asian Community since its inception in 2003. Throughout the numerous workshops and meetings organized, NEAT has promoted the academic exchanges and provided intellectual insights for East Asian cooperation. A wide range of issues such as the architecture of community building, enhancement of cultural exchange, energy security cooperation, investment and financial cooperation and so on, has been discussed to yield academic findings and policy recommendations. Such intellectual outputs by NEAT have been reported to the APT Summit to be materialized into actual measures of cooperation. Indeed, NEAT has served the academics joining the tract II diplomacy in the APT process to work together in fertile ways.
However, NEAT may not stand away from the ups and downs of the regionalism in East Asia. The re-surfacing strategic rivalries between the major powers amid the mushrooming regional institutions have become more of hindrance rather than help to building the East Asian community, which NEAT has pursued. It is evident that East Asia is by no means a hermetically sealed entity but a dynamically transforming creature. Since shaping and sharing norms through socialization is often distorted by strategic differences, NEAT has faced the challenge to prove its efficiency in dealing with increasing regional challenges in traditional and non-traditional security issue areas. Under-institutionalization of NEAT inherently would preclude APT from practicing the measures in dealing with regional challenges.
For the full text of the report, click here.

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.