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Overview Report, 2007

Overview Report | Track 1 Meetings | Track 2 Meetings
Publications
| Jan.-June 2008 Preliminary Inventory

This volume of Dialogue and Research Monitor includes dialogues and publications conducted or published between January and December 2007 that were focused on East Asia community building or on regional cooperation on security-related issues broadly defined. It was a momentous year, marking the 40th anniversary of ASEAN, the adoption of the ASEAN Charter, and the 10th anniversary of the Asian financial crisis. Not surprisingly, an impressive number of dialogues were held this year.

We have identified 278 Track 1 and 284 Track 2 dialogues, as well as 132 publications. As shown in figure 1, these numbers represent a steady increase over recent years. In 2004, for example, we identified 114 Track 1 and 199 Track 2 dialogues, while in 2005 those numbers were 132 and 216 respectively, and in 2006 they were 174 and 270. We began conducting a more extensive survey of publications in 2006, and the number of relevant books and reports we found rose slightly in 2007 as well.

While this increase in part reflects the greater availability of information on the Internet, and in some cases, a shift in the way in which we gather data for this survey, one indicator that the upswing is real is the number of events that are described by their organizers as "inaugural" or "first" meetings. From 2005 to 2006, the number of new dialogue series (i.e., dialogues intended to be conducted regularly) jumped from 13 to 21; the 2007 list rose again to 32 new initiatives (15 new Track 1 dialogues and 17 Track 2). Key topics among the new initiatives on the Track 1 side included cooperation in such fields as defense, energy, disaster management and preparedness, and water. On the Track 2 side, the issues were more diverse and included energy security, cooperation among Northeast Asian research institutes on economic issues, the environment, preventive diplomacy, Islam and democracy, and public-private cooperation on various issues.

The following tables show the most prominent themes that appeared in the survey. Table 1 shows the themes that served as the central focus of the meetings, while table 2 includes all themes that were on the agenda at the meetings. (In other words, a meeting's main theme might be the future of the Asia Pacific region, and it would therefore be included in table 1 as "East Asia/Asia Pacific-general," but participants at the meeting might have discussed development, economic cooperation, and environmental cooperation, which would be reflected in table 2.) In this overview, we will explore some of the key trends that we observed in 2007.


Table 1. Top ten dialogue themes
  Track 1 No. Track 2 No.
1 ASEAN/ASEAN Community 24 Energy 22
2 Economy/econ. cooperation 19 Environment 20
3 Bilateral/trilateral relations 18 Bilateral/trilateral relations
Development
16
16
4 Environment 17
 
5

ASEAN Charter

16 East Asia/Asia Pacific (general)
Finance
15
15
6

Finance
Transnational crime (incl. human/ drug trafficking, corruption)

14
14
 
7
Economy
Security/defense
13
13
8 Energy
Health
Security/defense
12
12
12
 
9   Human rights
Int'l relations/balance of power
10
10
10

   

Table 2. Top ten topics discussed at dialogues
  Track 1 No. Track 2 No.
1 ASEAN/ASEAN Community 71 Environment 64
2 Trade 56 Economy 61
3 Economy 53 Southeast Asia 58
4 Environment 47 Development 56
5 Development 45 Energy/energy security 51
6 Energy
Health
37
37
Security/defense 43
7   China 42
8 Security/defense 36 Trade
United States
30
30
9 Disaster
Relief management
34  
10 Integration 33 Japan 27

ASEAN and East Asia Community Building

ASEAN marked its 40th anniversary in 2007, adopting as its theme for the year, "One ASEAN at the Heart of Dynamic Asia." It was a time for reflection on past accomplishments and future directions, and several Track 2 dialogues were convened specifically on this topic. The ASEAN People's Assembly held a three-day conference on "ASEAN at 40-Realizing the People's Expectations," for example, while the ASEAN Think Tank Forum focused on "ASEAN at 40-Achievements and Challenges," and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Singapore convened an ASEAN 40th Anniversary Conference titled "Ideas and Institutions-Building an ASEAN Community?" These events examined the recent progress at the governmental and civil society levels toward participatory regionalism but also highlighted the many challenges that still lie ahead. They were, however, somewhat exceptional: while ASEAN (including ASEAN community building) was the focus of the largest number of meetings on the Track 1 side, and was on the agenda of 71 Track 1 meetings in all, it was the focus of only a small number of meetings at the Track 2 level.

Throughout the year, a high-level task force met to draft the ASEAN Charter, which was finalized and signed at the ASEAN Summit in November 2007. (The charter came into force in December 2008.) During the process, the task force met with civil society organizations and international institutions such as the Asian Development Bank. It also met with human rights organizations as it considered a proposal for a human rights body within ASEAN. This was one of the more contentious issues raised in the charter, and it seemed likely to be the focus of ongoing debate in subsequent years. In 2007, there were 22 Track 1 and 7 Track 2 meetings that discussed the charter, the latter generally in the context of future prospects and challenges for ASEAN as a whole.

The year 2007 also marked the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-US and of ASEAN-EU relations. Interestingly, there were only a few meetings on either the Track 1 or Track 2 level that focused on ASEAN-US relations; most discussions involving the United States looked at trilateral relations (e.g., US-Japan-ROK, US-China-Japan, or US-Japan-India relations), the US role in Asia Pacific, or the United States in Northeast Asia. ASEAN-EU relations also received limited attention as compared with European relations with Asia as a whole. However, the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit, a Track 1 event held in November, produced a plan of action to implement the Nuremburg Declaration on the ASEAN-EU Enhanced Partnership, which set out the framework and direction of comprehensive cooperation between the two sides in such areas as counterterrorism and transnational crime; trade promotion; energy, environment, and climate change; disaster management; and science and technology. (This is similar to the ASEAN-US Enhanced Partnership, which was announced in 2005.) The EU and ASEAN also agreed to move forward with negotiations on a free trade agreement.

In contrast to the meetings focused on ASEAN-US and ASEAN-EU relations, there were several ASEAN-China and ASEAN-Japan meetings that went beyond more general discussions of "bilateral" relations and focused on specific areas of practical cooperation, including the ASEAN-Japan Aviation Security Meeting, the ASEAN-Japan Counter Terrorism Dialogue, and the ASEAN-China Symposium on Progress of Human Infection with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Prevention and Control.

ASEAN's cooperation with China, Japan, and Korea also appeared to be expanding within the ASEAN+3 framework. In this year's list, we identified 27 ASEAN+3 meetings related to our themes as compared with just 7 in 2005. These meetings covered such issues as energy security, information sharing on emerging infectious diseases, women and poverty eradication, transnational crime, climate change, and financial integration and stability. The increasing use of the ASEAN+3 format to address transnational and global issues appears to be strengthening the broader East Asia community as well. Whether the East Asia Summit mechanism will play a similar or complementary role over time remains to be seen.

Major Powers in the Region and Subregional Community Building

Looking at Asia more broadly, there was a relatively steady rate of events that examined the relationship with, or role of, major powers in the region. Our survey found a slight increase in Track 2 dialogues that examined the issue of US involvement in Asia (from 21 to 30) within the broader framework of their meetings and no change in the number of Track 1 meetings. As was the case last year, the vast majority of these discussions related to security or traditional international relations issues, as noted above. Only a handful discussed economic issues, while even fewer looked at the US role in addressing transnational challenges in the region. Japan was on the agenda of 36 discussions (a slight drop), and China's role in the region was discussed at 50 meetings (with a slight rise in Track 2 dialogues). As was the case with the United States, China and Japan were discussed primarily in the contexts of bilateral or trilateral relations, the balance of power in the region, economics, and security. Representative of this category of meeting was a workshop held by JCIE on "Managing China-Japan-US Relations and Strengthening Trilateral Cooperation," which was part of a research project examining a wide range of topics-the emergence of regional community, financial cooperation, and tensions in the Taiwan Straits, etc.-in the context of the trilateral relationship. India continued to be on the radar, but there was no significant change in the number or context of the discussions.

Community building in Northeast Asia was the focus of 5 Track 2 dialogues and served as the geographical context for more than 40 dialogues in all-10 governmental meetings (including 4 sessions of the Six-Party Talks) and 33 nongovernmental meetings. Of note among Track 1 meetings was a trilateral foreign ministers meeting among China, Japan, and South Korea-the first time such a meeting was held independently from other multilateral events. The meeting focused on ways to expand cooperation on a range of issues, including trade and investment, environmental protection, climate change, and cultural exchange, and also addressed the Six-Party Talks and security in Northeast Asia. The ministers agreed to continue this trilateral dialogue in the future. Energy and security were the key themes for this subregion, with the Korean Peninsula being a key concern. This trend was clearly a response to North Korea's 2006 nuclear tests, which created a greater sense of urgency in discussions of institutional mechanisms for promoting stability in Northeast Asia.

By contrast, 4 dialogues examined the Southeast Asian region specifically (as opposed to the institutional framework of ASEAN), and 28 dialogues (5 at the Track 1 level) examined issues within that subregional context. Topics here were more mixed, ranging from traditional security to the environment, nonproliferation, gender issues, and migration. Examples include a Stanley Foundation-funded meeting of scholars and practitioners to discuss "New Power Dynamics in Southeast Asia," which considered changing power competition in Southeast Asian security, terrorism, new and nontraditional security issues, and the changing regional security architecture; and a gathering held by the Hiroshima Peace Institute that analyzed bilateral tensions in Southeast Asia and the appropriate mechanisms for dispute settlement.

A number of events also focused on smaller subregions, such as the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area; the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle; the Cambodia-Lao PDR-Myanmar- Vietnam region; the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation mechanism (India, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam); the Pacific Islands; and the Southwest Pacific (Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Timor Leste). Some of these groupings primarily target the promotion of trade and development, but a number of meetings also addressed transnational issues. For example, the Southwest Pacific officials discussed political and security trends within the member nations and in the region and also considered ways to promote cooperation in the areas of education and culture, transnational crime and terrorism, interfaith dialogue, maritime issues, avian influenza and HIV/AIDS, and the prevention of natural disasters.

Economic Community Building

The year 2007 was also the 10th anniversary of the Asian financial crisis, and there were 10 Track 2 conferences that focused specifically on the lessons learned from that crisis. The number of events that focused on finance and the economy overall (including the "anniversary" events) grew dramatically, as did events looking at economic integration. Among Track 1 events, we found 41 dialogues on economic, financial, and trade issues and another 33 Track 2 events. Roughly a dozen of these meetings discussed the development of the ASEAN Economic Community, while 9 dialogues discussed the stalled Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its impact on the region. The WTO itself held two meetings in the region to discuss the progress in, and the implications for Asia Pacific of, the Doha Round. Economic integration was the specific focus of 14 dialogues on our lists (6 Track 1 and 8 Track 2). The general approach to the theme seemed to be similar to previous years, as meetings examined the implications of regional integration for Japan and the United States, ways to build the institutional and financial foundations for regional integration, and lessons to be learned from Europe. An Asian Development Bank meeting in 2007 also reviewed the poverty impacts of regional economic integration. Trade was the focus of another 13 events, and while the overall trends in discussions were similar to previous years, there seemed to be a slight decline in the number of meetings where free trade agreements were high on the agenda.

One trend that we noted among events on these topics was the prominent role of ongoing dialogues rather than one-time conferences. Out of the close to 90 dialogues on these issues, just one-quarter were one-time-only events, and about half of those were meetings that looked at the 10th anniversary of the financial crisis. This is 10 percent higher than the overall ratio for our list (65 percent), which seems to indicate that the institutional frameworks provided by ASEAN, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council have played an important role in creating an ongoing dialogue on economic, trade, and financial issues in the region.

Dialogues focusing specifically on economic development and poverty alleviation, on the other hand, were primarily organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Development Programme, and/or the Asian Development Bank, and the majority were Track 2 dialogues. The Global Development Conference, for example, held its annual meeting in Beijing in 2007 and highlighted the implications of Asia's rise for development in other regions, with poverty reduction and sustainable development as the underlying themes. Some meetings took a very concrete approach, such as a regional meeting on the theme "Towards a Joint Regional Agenda for the Alleviation of Poverty through Agriculture and Secondary Crop Development," while others took innovative approaches, such as the ESCAP and Thai government's meeting on "Happiness in Global Perspectives and Local Interpretations: The Implication for Alternative Development Paradigms and Public Policy." Development and poverty were discussed at roughly 100 meetings in 2007, making it the third most talked about issue in 2007, behind the economy and the environment.

Traditional and Nontraditional Security Cooperation in the Region

Of the 562 dialogues we identified in 2007, roughly 11 percent focused specifically on the more traditional aspects of regional security cooperation, including such issues as nonproliferation, the Korean Peninsula, maritime security, military cooperation, and terrorism-while about 13 percent of the 132 publications on our list focused on security as well. Perhaps the most significant shift from 2006 to 2007 was the increased number of events at the Track 1 level that either directly or indirectly addressed traditional security and defense concerns-nearly doubling from the previous year. Of note were the holding of the first ASEAN Defense Senior Officials Meeting and the first ASEAN Defense Ministers Retreat and the expansion of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Defense Officials Dialogue to a full-day format, showing the increased engagement within ASEAN on security cooperation.

There was a slight increase in 2007-particularly in Track 1 venues-in discussions of nonproliferation, weapons of mass destruction, and arms trafficking, with a total of 47 projects (compared with 35 in 2006) discussing those topics. Northeast Asia and North Korea figured into nearly half of those dialogues. Terrorism discussions also increased very slightly over the previous year, with meetings organized by ASEAN, the ARF, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, among others. Some of the issues covered included ways to increase information exchange, capacity building through training, and exchanges on counterterrorism among countries in Southeast Asia; ways for Asia and Europe to work together to tighten border controls and to combat terrorist financing and terrorist use of media; and the use and abuse of charities and new technology in financing terrorism.

One nontraditional security issue saw a dramatic jump in our survey. Energy and energy security became a key issue as the cost of a barrel of crude oil nearly doubled over the course of 2007. We identified 12 Track 1 and 22 Track 2 events that specifically focused on energy (up from 8 and 9 respectively in 2006). The number of dialogues that included energy on the agenda also jumped by 75 percent over the previous year. While some projects addressed energy in the context of climate change, the majority took up the issue in a security context. The East Asia Summit launched an Energy Ministers Meeting and an Energy Cooperation Task Force during the year. This followed up on the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security, announced at the January 2007 summit, which stressed close cooperative efforts to enhance energy security for the region in order to ensure the supply of reliable, adequate, and affordable energy for sustainable economic growth and to enhance competitiveness. Official discussions were also underway on developing a mechanism for energy cooperation in Northeast Asia. Key regional research centers and international organizations also took up this topic, examining the possibility of cooperation between businesses and government, between advanced and developing nations, and between Asia and Europe in coping, for example, with the increased regional demand for energy and in ensuring a stable and environmentally sound supply for the region.

Regional Cooperation on Transnational and Global Issues

In the 2006 survey, we noted an increase in the number of events focusing on transnational and global issues, such as health, disaster risk reduction, transnational crime, the environment, and intercultural conflict. These numbers stayed roughly the same in 2007, but there were some notable exceptions. There were fewer Track 1 meetings focused on disaster relief/management or terrorism this year, and fewer Track 2 meetings focused on disasters or on health-although the latter showed only a very slight decline. The environment, transnational crime, and health were among the top eight issues examined in Track 1 dialogues, while on the Track 2 side, the environment was ranked second, while human rights came in at ninth in terms of the main focus of discussions.

The environment showed significant gains over 2006, as the number of Track 1 discussions we identified that focused on or addressed this issue more than doubled, and Track 2 events rose significantly as well. We also found more publications that examined the issue in the Asian context. These examinations of environmental concerns were in many cases done in conjunction with other issues, including development, income disparity, health, and energy. The 17th Asia-Pacific Seminar on Climate Change, for example, examined measures to integrate climate change issues into development planning. A UN-OECD workshop focused on developing sustainability strategies in Asia to mitigate the heavy environmental toll of rapid economic growth in the region. And an international conference held by the Pacific Basin Consortium looked at ways to reduce risks to human and environmental health within a larger context that recognizes the importance of addressing development, poverty, equity, and sustainability.

Many discussions of climate change began to address the "post-2012" challenges of how to move beyond the Kyoto Protocol. Some looked at subregional cooperation. The senior officials meeting of the Northeast Asia Subregional Programme for Environment Cooperation, for example, reviewed a proposal for launching an "Eco-efficiency Partnership in Northeast Asia." And a number of ASEM and ASEAN-EU meetings looked at interregional cooperation as well.

As noted above, in 2007 there was a decline in discussions focused on disaster relief and management after the upward blip in 2006 that resulted from the tragic 2005 tsunami. However, the topic was included on the broader agendas of more Track 1 dialogues than ever before, implying that it is a subject being discussed in terms of ongoing regional cooperation. More than half of the 11 events that did focus specifically on this topic were held by ASEAN, while two of the nongovernmental meetings were organized by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

The numbers for the health field stayed roughly the same, although it was included on more Track 1 agendas than the previous year. The number of events specifically mentioning avian influenza dropped off a bit from the 2006 numbers, as did those specifically mentioning HIV/AIDS, but discussions of infectious disease in general rose slightly and it was addressed in a variety of contexts. For example, the meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry examined disease control programs in livestock and aquatic animals, including the progress in the implementation of the Regional Framework for Control and Eradication of HPAI in ASEAN; the Asian Development Bank held a seminar on sanitation, which sought to help local governments improve sanitation as a way of improving public health; and a workshop was held by ASEAN and China's Ministry of Health to develop a protocol for communication and information sharing on emerging infectious diseases in the ASEAN+3 countries. ASEAN also holds regular meetings on the issue in the form of the ASEAN Workshop on Control and Eradication of HPAI, the ASEAN Task Force on HPAI, the ASEAN Regional Workshop on Multisectoral Coordination in Pandemic Preparedness and Response, the Meeting of the ASEAN Experts Group on Communicable Disease, and the Senior Officials Meeting on Health Development.

Transnational crime, including drug and human trafficking, held fairly stable as a focus for discussions. It appears that there are regional mechanisms in place that are moving forward steadily to address these issues, such as meetings of the heads of specialist anti-trafficking in persons units, the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking (COMMIT), the ASEAN and China Cooperative Operations in Response to Dangerous Drugs (ACCORD), the meetings of the ASEAN Senior Officials on Drugs, and the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime and its working group on narcotics. The discussions, as in the past, were primarily held at the Track 1 level, with relatively little work being done on the Track 2 side.

The reverse held true for gender-related discussions. Gender was the focus of 7 Track 2 discussions in 2007, and gender issues were raised in 18 Track 2 meetings in all. On the Track 1 level, those numbers were 2 and 5 respectively. One workshop held by the World Bank, the UK Department for International Development, and the UN examined how to strengthen the achievement of gender equality objectives within specific aid effectiveness initiatives in Southeast Asia. Other meetings considered gender, poverty, and infrastructure; legal empowerment for women; female labor migration in globalizing Asia; and women and poverty in the context of human security.

There also seemed to be an increased discussion of human and civil rights- particularly among the Track 1 events. Two key factors in this elevated discourse were the debate over the inclusion of a human rights commission in the ASEAN Charter, and the midpoint review of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons.

Finally, another interesting trend that directly relates to many of these transnational and global issues was a slight rise in the number of references to the concept of human security. One major conference, focused on "Mainstreaming Human Security: The Asian Contribution," was organized by Chulalongkorn University to examine the status of human security in Asia, to provide an Asian debate on the theoretical aspects of human security, and to look at the practical implications of the concept in terms of policy implementation. Notably, APEC is among the institutions that have introduced a human security dimension into its programs over the past two to three years.

By the Book

In this year's edition of Dialogue and Research Monitor, we once again placed our emphasis on identifying publications related to East Asia as a barometer of research being conducted in recent years. Because our list is limited to English-language publications, there is naturally some bias in this selection. It is more reflective of research aimed at the broader, international community than at a domestic constituency, which may slant the way issues are framed and analyzed. Nonetheless, we believe that the list sheds light on what research has been done over the past several years and what publications might be shaping the debate in the years to come. As noted above, we were able to identify 132 relevant publications that were released in 2007. While there was a wide array of topics, the top 10 themes addressed in these studies are summarized in the table below.

At the top of the list we find publications that examine traditional security and defense issues related to the Asia Pacific region. Four of these are broad, annual reviews of regional security issues-three of which are published by research centers in Japan (National Institute for Defense Studies), India (Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses), and the United States (East-West Center), and one that is a new annual survey published by the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific, an international dialogue and research consortium. The other publications on security represent diverse perspectives, from The Role of Knowledge Communities in Constructing Asia-Pacific Security, which focuses on the dearth of critical and/or post-positivist perspectives in Asia Pacific security studies and criticizes regional communities of security specialists and intellectuals for having contributed to a state-centric, political image at the expense of alternative ideas, to East Asian Security: Two Views, which examines the need for a new framework for Northeast Asian security that can cope with the legacy of frequent changes in the region's great power relations, and Reassessing Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific: Competition, Congruence, and Transformation, which reexamines security cooperation in the region in light of such developments as the emergence of new roles for existing institutions, the rise of new institutions, and the increasing formalization of regional institutions.

Table 3. Main themes of publications
Themes No.
Traditional security/defense 11
Asia Pacific/East Asia-general 8
Bilateral/trilateral relations 8
Economy/economic relations 8
Health/disease 8
ASEAN community 6
Regionalism 6
International relations/balance of power 6
Development/poverty 5
China 4
Korean Peninsula/North Korea 4
East Asian community 4
Environment 4

As was the case in the dialogues, there was a slight decrease in the focus given to China. (We should note that only books that examine China's role in regional security and community building are included here; single-country studies are not included in this survey.) Two books looked specifically at China's relations with Southeast Asia, while one looked at its security diplomacy more broadly and another sounded an alarmist note about "the coming China wars." China was increasingly being examined in conjunction with India, as seen in such titles as Dancing with Giants: China, India and the Global Economy, India & China in the Asian Century: Global Economic Power Dynamics, and India-China-Japan: The New Power Triangle in Asia. The four books on Korea were split between those that looked at the security issues posed by North Korea and those that looked at Korea's role in East Asia more broadly, while the three books on Japan that we identified looked at Japan's shifting role in the region, such as the collection of essays by JCIE Fellow Hitoshi Tanaka that examines East Asian regional integration and Japan's potential role in strengthening regional community building and establishing an East Asia security forum.

Health was a major theme in dialogues and proved to be the subject of a number of studies on Asia as well. Regional cooperation on preventing the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV, SARS, and avian influenza was the focus of five books on our list, such as JCIE's book, East Asian Regional Cooperation in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, while two ESCAP publications looked at ways to improve health systems in order to meet the health-related Millennium Development Goals in Asia Pacific, and another book examined Public Health in Asia and the Pacific, exploring how health problems in Asia Pacific and the collective responses to them have been shaped by cultural, economic, social, demographic, environmental, and political factors.

As was the case last year, the strong interest in nontraditional security that we see among the dialogues was not reflected in the publications. Some exceptions were Disease & Security: Natural Plagues and Biological Weapons in East Asia and The Environmental Dimension of Asian Security: Conflict and Cooperation over Energy, Resources, and Pollution. Two books focused on terrorism in Southeast Asia, while three examined maritime security or piracy in the region. This is a fairly modest number compared with the number of dialogues held on these subjects.

Finally, the topics of regionalism, East Asian community, and the ASEAN community were the subject of an increasing number of publications, reflecting the trends in dialogues as well. Publications on regionalism focused on the emerging architecture for cooperation and its implications for other nations, such as the United States; contrasted the construction of regional communities in Europe and Southeast Asia; and looked at the obstacles and implications of Asia's "new regionalism." There were four books that looked at the East Asia community, four that addressed the ASEAN community, two that looked at regional cooperation and integration in the economic sphere, and seven that looked at regionalism in Asia as a whole.


The data in the 2007 volume of Dialogue and Research Monitor shows that the interest in and commitment to regional cooperation-particularly on functional issues-appears to be steadily increasing in the Asia Pacific region. The number of ongoing dialogues (as opposed to one-off meetings) has been growing at both the governmental and nongovernmental levels, and these meetings are providing a basis for greater engagement, confidence building, and cooperation on delicate issues such as national security and human rights. They are also facilitating efforts in the region to tackle the most pressing and immediate transnational issues of the day-from natural disasters to energy security, infectious disease, climate change, and terrorism. Instability in the region has certainly not disappeared, but as the situation in Northeast Asia demonstrates, this instability itself has prompted cooperation and dialogue that may very well serve as the basis for a strengthening of regional institutions. JCIE hopes that this annual survey of dialogues and research will contribute to a greater understanding of the steps being taken toward-and the challenges that still remain for-the creation of an East Asia community.