NEAT Working Group on Institutional Sustainability of NEAT
Towards the East Asian Community
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.
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