Leadership Issues in East Asian Regional Integration: Implications from European Experiences  


저자 : Soyeon Park, Sung-Hoon Park

학술지명 경상논총

권호 : 38(4)

게재년월 : 2020 12 31


It has been almost two decades since regional integration began to accelerate in East Asia. Despite earlier enthusiasm for regionalism, it is yet to achieve a region-wide FTA, let alone formal institutionalization. Advancing a functional approach to leadership, this paper argues that the limited supply of political, financial and institutional leadership has hindered deeper regionalism. Political leadership to promote regional integration exists, albeit weakly. However, rising political and diplomatic discomfort in the region has raised the question of whether commitments and agreements for deepening regional integration forged at the regional level are only a rhetorical gesture. This paper found that there is a limited supply of stable, coherent, and cooperative financial leadership: Japan’s financial leadership has been inter-subjectively challenged, while China’s growing economic activities in the region have intensified financial leadership competition. Institutional leadership, which has been traditionally provided by ASEAN through the channel of ASEAN centrality, has also weakened in recent years over growing tension and waning unity among the ASEAN member states and the inherited constraints of the institution in the world of power politics. Korea has emerged as an alternative, but its credentials are still to be proven. Such leadership vacuum is to be attributed to the emergence and intensification of three sets of leadership competitions in East Asia. This paper hereby draws a temporary conclusion that the success of regional integration depends on joint effort to create an environment where rivalries are attenuated and functions of leaderships are provided.