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The Impact of Changing US Policy on the Emerging East Asia Community

2009–2011

The 2008, US elections marked the culmination of a historic political shift in the United States and ushered in dramatic changes in US foreign policy. Now, with new political leadership, the United States is in the process of adjusting the tone and content of its foreign policy and reconceptualizing its approach to Asia.

In light of these changes, the research project "Regional Community Building and the Global Agenda: The Impact of Changing US Policy on the Emerging East Asia Community," coordinated as part of the Asia Pacific Agenda Project (APAP), explores shifts in the US role in the region under new political leadership and what impact this will have on East Asia community building and regional cooperation in key areas where East Asia is increasingly striving to work together. The Obama Administration has struck a different tone towards Asia—President Obama has made much of his childhood years living in Indonesia as well as Hawaii and Secretary of State Clinton chose to pay her first official overseas visit to East Asia. Despite these tonal differences, the new administration’s substantive policy toward East Asia is not yet clearly articulated.

The United States continues to play a critical role in the power dynamics of East Asia, and its cooperation is essential in dealing with many of the cross-border challenges in the region. Therefore, it is critical for East Asians to better understand US policy and explore new ways of cooperating with the United States and of engaging it in discussion on the shape of the emerging East Asia community. Also, East Asian leaders should better articulate how they wish to see the United States involved in the region’s emerging architecture, and what level of US participation is desirable and appropriate. In this context, the project focuses on the following themes: (1) the new US approach to Asia, (2) trends in US policy toward East Asia community building, (3) US involvement in East Asia community building efforts, (4) East Asian perspectives on the US role in East Asia, and (5) new opportunities for regional cooperation with the US in East Asia. As a result of this project, A Pacific Nation: Perspectives on the US Role in an East Asia Community was published in 2011.

15th APAP Forum (November 29–30, 2009; Seoul)

APAP workshop (March 27–28, 2010; Honolulu)

Project team

Project Leaders
Tadashi Yamamoto

President, Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE)

Mark Borthwick Executive Director, US Asia Pacific Council, East West Center, Honolulu
Paperwriters
Yang Danzhi

Assistant Research Fellow, Institute of Asian and Pacific Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

James Gannon Executive Director, JCIE/USA
Han Intaek Senior Research Fellow, Jeju Peace Institute
Joey Long Shi Ruey

Assistant Professor, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Techonological University

Noel Morada

Research Director, Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland, Australia; Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines, Diliman

Amy Searight

Senior Advisor, Stonebridge International; Memorial Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University

Takashi Terada

Professor of International Relations, Organization for Asian Studies, Waseda University, Tokyo

Research Advisors
Jusuf Wanandi      Vice Chairman and Senior Fellow, CSIS Jakarta (Indonesia)
Charles Morrison President, The East-West Center (US)

Koji Watanabe

Senior Fellow, JCIE; former Ambassador to Russia (Japan)

Zhang Yunling

Director, Institute of Asian and Pacific Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (China)

Han Sung-Joo

Chairman, The Asan Institute for Policy Studies; former Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs; former Korean Ambassador to the United States (Korea)