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APAPAsia Pacific Agenda Project

Tenth Forum: Tokyo, Japan
February 25-26, 2005

The Tenth APAP Forum was held on February 25-26, 2005, in Tokyo. Nearly 50 participants from throughout the Asia Pacific region gathered to discuss the theme of "Engaging the United States in an Emerging East Asia Community." The first session, "Visions of East Asia Community," offered participants an opportunity to discuss the recent dramatic increase in regional interaction and its impact on political thinking, the frustration felt by those in the region with existing regional and supraregional structures, and the potential that greater cooperation holds for the promotion of peace and stability, as well as in tackling various shared challenges. The wisdom of engaging with the United States early in this process was debated, with most agreeing that the United States continues to be needed as a key player in Asia, and particularly in Northeast Asia, for the foreseeable future.

The second session focused on "U.S. Interests and Goals in East Asia," and featured presentation by several noted American policy experts. In general, the sense among the Americans was that the East Asia community was already a reality and that exaggerated notions of the political implications such a community would have for the United States were counterproductive. The final session examined the theme of "Changes and Adjustments Required for Realization of East Asian Regionalism." The participants reviewed the nature of East Asia community building, the need to delineate a clear vision of what that entails, and what the potential benefits might be. In particular, participants focused on how best to engage the United States in this process, how to improve understanding among Americans of what is currently happening in East Asia, and how future developments should be reconciled with current American alliance relationships.

A number of prominent guest speakers addressed the forum, including José Ramos-Horta, foreign minister of Timor-Leste; Representative Iwao Matsuda, Chief Secretary of the Liberal Democratic Party's Research Commission on Foreign Affairs; and Hitoshi Tanaka, Japan's deputy foreign minister.