日本語   JCIE Japanese Language Site



Overview Report, July–December 2004

This overview report looks at the trends in Track 1 meetings (governmental meetings) and Track 2 meetings (nongovernmental meetings, sometimes including government officials in their private capacities), as well as dialogue and research activities pertaining to Asia Pacific security and community building for the period of July-December 2004. For a full explanation of the scope and process please refer to the notes.

Overview Report | Track 1 Meetings | Track 2 Meetings | Research
Publications
| 2005 Preliminary Inventory

Overview

A regularized process of monitoring and reviewing dialogue and research activities in Asia Pacific has become increasingly important as regional interdependence becomes ever more pronounced to such an extent that "community building" has become a focus of many of these activities. It is our view that this Monitor provides a useful set of information on issues taken up and debated in dialogue and research activities within the region to those who are interested in the regional development of the Asia Pacific or who are directly engaged in promoting such regional cooperation on governmental as well as non-governmental levels. This report with summary information on such activities with references allows those who are interested in doing research on certain specific issues to identify projects for possible follow-up. Therefore, it should be useful for information exchange among the actors in this field, enabling them to build on each others' accomplishments and possibly reduce certain duplications.

In this overview report, tentative thoughts on the trends in dialogue and research activities are offered from the point of view of those of us who have been tracking these activities over the years. However, each reader may form different impressions after examining the full set of data provided by the Monitor on the basis of their professional involvement, institutional affiliation, geographic association, or other factors.

Consistent level of Track 1 activities and significant increase of Track 2 activities

One distinct trend identified during this period is a consistent level of Track 1 activities for this and the previous period, namely, 50 in January-June, 2004 and 62 in this volume. In comparison, there was a large increase in Track 2 activities, rising from 80 in the first half of 2004 to 116 in the second half. The relatively constant number of Track 1 activities may be accounted for, at least in part, due to the fact that over 25 out of 62 covered in this report are annual governmental meetings. Moreover, close to an additional 15 meetings listed in Track 1 activities are senior officials meetings (SOM), and other similar meetings held in preparation for official governmental meetings. Thus, roughly 70 percent of Track 1 meetings listed in this Monitor are related to annual meetings, explaining the relatively constant number of meetings. On the other hand, in Track 2, more dynamic activities pursuing new policy issues and involving additional actors, in terms of countries and sectors, can be witnessed, and new meetings, whether designed to be annual or once-off, were also identified. The aforementioned Index of Meetings by title also reminds us that it is in the past five years that diverse annual and regular meetings in Track 1 and Track 2 registered a significant increase, contributing to the growth of regional cooperation in recent years.

Increasing number of research and dialogue on non-traditional security and human security issues

A trend to take up terrorism and explore effective counter-terrorism measures, often through regional cooperation and information sharing, has been prominent particularly in research and dialogue activities in Asia Pacific since 9-11. During the period monitored in this volume, terrorism featured in one quarter of all Track 1 meetings and proved to be the most frequently dealt with of any single issue. Related to this, topics such as maritime terrorism, piracy, and cyber crimes were prevalent, particularly in Track 1, indicating the level of concern about these issues at the governmental level. Other non-traditional security issues that were important subjects of discussion included transnational crimes, especially human trafficking, drugs trafficking and arms trafficking, raised on a total of 20 occasions in the 62 meetings.

These issues were also taken up in Track 2 activities with more emphasis on the human security dimension, namely a negative impact on the safety and well-being of ordinary citizens. Clearly, human security challenges like human trafficking, migration, and communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and avian influenza have been increasing along with greater regional interdependence and the concomitant increased flow of people and goods across the national borders. Many of these transnational human security issues were taken up in Track 1 and Track 2, and active exploration was conducted on a regional basis involving diverse sectors including national governments, municipalities, corporations, civil society organizations, and community organizations.

Continuing emphasis on traditional security issues with particular attention to Northeast Asia

Despite the growing tendency for research and dialogue activities to address non-traditional security issues or human security issues in recent years, traditional security issues received continuing attention. There was a particular focus on the growing tension on the Korean peninsula with news of the likely nuclear development by North Korea. Though these issues must have been the focus of attention on the governmental level especially among military and security specialists, this trend was more clearly pronounced in Track 2 activities in this Monitor—the Korean peninsula and North Korea featured in twenty percent of all the meetings. Diverse exploration took place on bringing North Korea to the negotiating table through the Six Party Talks and other mechanisms, advancing regional nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and, ultimately, and promoting a regional peace building process. Taiwan and continuing cross-straits tensions was another security concern in Northeast Asia that received substantial attention in Track 2 activities, taken up in ten percent of all meetings. It was quite noticeable that security issues in Northeast Asia with a particular focus on the Korean peninsula was a major theme of several international conferences organized by prestigious organizations such as Wilton Park Conferences, Pugwash Conference, Monterey Institute of International Studies, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

More intensified research and dialogue on East Asian community building

Though it is generally acknowledged that the community building process is a long-term one, a continuing trend of exploring specific institutional arrangements and policy implications of such community building in Asia Pacific was witnessed during the period covered by this Monitor. On the Track 1 level, the ASEAN + 3 (China, Japan, and Korea) process, broadly considered the primary path toward East Asian community building, became more intensified, with at least seven such meetings identified during this period. In the previous Monitor, the ASEAN-centric growth of regional dialogue was reported. In this period too, ASEAN continued to play a catalytic role in promoting diverse Track 1 dialogues within a broader regional framework, on as many as 42 occasions. ASEAN met with China the most (ten occasions), followed by Japan (seven), India (six) and Korea (five). It will be interesting to see how the East Asia Summit, to be hosted by Malaysia at the end of 2005, may affect the present ASEAN+3 formula for community building, and its viability is being seriously debated in both the Track 1 and Track 2 context.

With the prospect of more serious Track 2 exploration of East Asian Community building, there have been some significant developments in this region designed to further stimulate research and dialogue on the issues related to it. In Japan, under the leadership of Kenichi Ito of the Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR), the Council on East Asian Community (CEAC) was launched in May 2004 and started full-fledged activities during the period covered by this Monitor report. It has representatives of 12 major think tanks interested in the subject of East Asian Community building as board members, as well as individual scholars and business leaders from diverse professional communities. The think tanks involved in this new organization include JFIR, the Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA), the National Institute of Research Advancement (NIRA), the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE), and the Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS). CEAC has launched a study group headed by Akihiko Tanaka to prepare a comprehensive assessment of East Asian Community building from the Japanese perspective. While this collaborative arrangement may enhance Japan's greater participation in regional intellectual cooperation on this critical subject, it is argued by some that such a collective approach may inhibit more pluralistic exploration of ways in which Japan may contribute to community building in East Asia.

Another development in East Asian Community building-related research and dialogue is the reorganization of CSCAP under the new leadership of Jusuf Wanandi. This has been undertaken to invigorate one of the longest-standing regional mechanisms for intellectual exchange on security matters and to make it contribute more directly toward the East Asian Community building process. Another group which may play a significant role in regional cooperation among think tanks is NEAT (Network of East Asian Think Tanks) which met for the second time in August 2004 in Bangkok, following the first meeting in China in May 2003. There have previously been on-going efforts to promote greater collaboration among policy research institutions and academic institutions in the region; how NEAT further contributes to such efforts will be interesting to watch. The third conference of NEAT will be organized by JFIR.

Trends in research activities related to East Asian Community building

Though some reference was made above to research activities in non-traditional, human, and traditional security areas, some analysis of overall Track 2 research activities in connection to regional community development should be made here. Subjects related to regional economic integration received continuing attention during this period, particularly with the increasing number of bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) and the prospect of an East Asia Free Trade Area (EAFTA). Phenomenal economic growth in China has also become an important part of the research activities, and, in that connection, the role of the United States and Japan in regional economic cooperation and eventual integration is also gaining greater attention.

One area gaining prominence during this period was research related to community building in terms of examination of whether there are shared values in the region and whether diverse levels of governance or democratization among nations in the region will affect the viability of the community building proposition. Closely related to the increased incidence of research on governance and democracy, Asian elections in 2004 and their impact on regional stability featured highly on Track 2 agendas. Discussions of this type featured in nine meetings, and accompanied by discussions on democracy and governance, made up sixteen percent of all meetings.

East Asian Community building in a global context

Perhaps related to what appears to be a greater progression toward East Asian Community building, striking during this period was the growing trend of attention given to the region and to regional integration from many different parts of the world. To some observers in Asia, American interest in the region seemed to have declined due in part to its attention to the Middle East, but during the period covered by this report as many as 25 different U.S. institutions were involved in organizing Track 2 meetings. This is well ahead of Japan, the second most frequent organizer, with 15 institutions involved. Needless to say, such American interest is reciprocated by the interest of East Asian research institutions which paid close attention to the U.S. Presidential election focusing on the next administration's polices toward Asia (seven instances), particularly in terms of U.S. defense forces transformation in Asia Pacific (eight), and the overall role of the U.S. in the region (six). Yet, it seems that there has not been full-fledged research on how the U.S. will engage itself with a more integrated East Asia in the coming years, thus such an exploration was launched in Japan during this period.

What was quite striking in the survey for this period's Monitor is a growing attention given to this region by European research institutions, foundations, and EU-related institutions. Aside from ASEM and such regularized forums to enhance intellectual interactions between Europe and Asia, several of the new entries in Track 2 activities focused on developments in East Asia, including the aforementioned attention to the North Korean nuclear threat, are initiated by the European side. In this connection, increasing Russian interest in East Asia is also evident from some of its new initiatives.

One trend which is likely to become more enhanced in the coming years is the greater participation of India and Pakistan in both Track 1 and Track 2 activities. It was observed that in Track 1 meetings initiated by non-ASEAN countries such as China, Japan, and Korea, officials from India and Pakistan attended as frequently as those from individual ASEAN member countries. The entry of Pakistan in ARF as a full member during this period may have contributed somewhat to this phenomenon. Other points to note are that Mongolia participated in almost as many Track 2 meetings as Russia—13 compared to 15—and DPRK was present at six Track 2 meetings, even organizing one of them.