NEAT Working Group on
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 resulted in numerous policy recommendations. Such intellectual outputs by NEAT have been reported to the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit to be materialized into actual policy measures/projects of cooperation. Indeed, NEAT has served as a key route to connect academia to the world of policy making of APT process in fertile ways.
However, NEAT may not be immune from the ups and downs of the regionalism in East Asia. The re-surfacing strategic rivalries between/among the major regional powers, despite the mushrooming regional cooperation, have become more of an hindrance than an asset to build the East Asian community, which NEAT has pursued over the last 20 years. 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 and accumulated experience of cooperation is often distorted by strategic differences, NEAT needs to prove its efficiency in coping with regional challenges especially in traditional and non-traditional security issue areas.
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