Opinions < 2004 < December


Laying a Foundation for a New East Asia

Eric Teo Chu Cheow 
The Japan Times
December 31, 2004 

Optimism for East Asian integration and community building ran high at the conclusion of the 10th ASEAN Summit on Nov. 30 in Vientiane, Laos, and the back-to-back meetings between the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its Asia-Pacific partners -- China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. The year 2005 may see a firm foundation laid for an East Asian community after seven developments:

First, ASEAN leaders in Vientiane decided to speed up economic integration by signing pacts calling on the "original" five ASEAN countries -- Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand -- and Brunei to abolish trade tariffs in 11 sectors by 2007 (three years ahead of schedule). These 11 sectors constitute more than half of current intra-ASEAN trade. The other four economies -- Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar -- will join the pact by 2015 (five years ahead of schedule).

Click here to read further: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/geted.pl5?eo20041231a1.htm



Countdown for Asian Economic Integration

Nagesh Kumar
The Financial Express
December 28, 2004

The region needs an over-arching regionwide FTA to make most of the synergies or complementarities existing in the region. The Laos summit seems to have taken steps to provide a nucleus of such an institutional infrastructure. Besides consolidation and deepening of economic integration of Asean countries, it was agreed to organise an east Asian summit in 2005 hosted by Malaysia to launch the process of broader pan-Asian integration. As a summit-level partner of Asean and considering bilateral FTAs with China, Japan and Korea, India should participate in the east Asian summit and contribute to the process of building a new Asia. Countries like Singapore did make a case for India’s participation in the process.

Click here to read further: http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=78088



An Asian Economic Union?

Rowan Callick
Tech Central Station 
December 23, 2004 

The countries of East Asia, which are leading world growth in the 21st century, have at last started groping their way towards an economic union to rival those of Europe and North America .
Until the summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations in Laos , which ended on December 1, the push for integration of these countries - far more culturally disparate than those of Europe or America - lacked a venue.Now, the annual summits of the ten ASEAN leaders with those of China , Japan and South Korea are shaping up as the platforms where patterns of regional integration are shaped.

Click here to read further: http://www.techcentralstation.com/122304B.html



Bigger Steps Towards Asian integration

Eric Teo Chu Cheow
China Daily
December 21, 2004  

The recent Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit held in Vientiane, Laos on November 28-30, could have broken new ground in Asian integration and community-building. Optimism was high following the conclusion of the 10th ASEAN Summit, as well as the back-to-back summit meetings between ASEAN and its Asian-Pacific partners, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), India, Australia and New Zealand. India's increasing role in Asian integration was of particular significance.

Equally significant was the holding of the second High-Level Conference on Asian Economic Integration, held in Tokyo in mid-November 2004, organized by the New Delhi-based Research Information System (RIS) of Non-Aligned Countries. The RIS-organized and Sasakawa Peace Foundation-sponsored meeting was the second in a series, which began in New Delhi last autumn. The third conference is scheduled to be held in Beijing next year. The Chinese partner in this series of conferences is the Development Research Centre of the State Council.

Click here to read further: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-12/21/content_401932.htm#



Regional Economic Cooperation Shows Strong Momentum in 2004

Xinhua Online
December 16, 2004

With the expansion of the EuropeanUnion (EU), the birth of the South American Community of Nations (CSN), and the strengthening of trade ties among Asian economies, the year 2004 witnessed closer regional cooperation in the world economy.

The World Trade Organization (WTO), the Geneva-based body which regulates international trade rules, said it had been notified of 293 regional trade arrangements as of January 2004, and up to 45 percent of world trade are conducted under regional cooperation agreements.

The figures indicated that closer trade ties among neighbors has become a popular option for many economies to sharpen their competitive edge.

Click here to read further: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-12/16/content_2341906.htm



Japan Needs Its own `Asian' Vision

The Asahi Shimbun
December 14, 2004

Japan must overcome its dependence on the United States and its fear of China and develop its own Asian vision. Japan's role and mission will become increasingly heavy.

Economy is the driving force of regionalism. East Asian economic integration is advancing rapidly. The ratio of regional trade in 2002 was nearly 52 percent. Although it is lower than the European Union's 62 percent, it is higher than the North American Free Trade Agreement's 46 percent.

As the trend advances, the region is becoming less dependent on the United States as a trade partner. In other words, the Asianization of Asia.

Click here to read further: http://www.asahi.com/english/opinion/TKY200412140172.html



Emergence of China May be a Threat But It is also a Great Opportunity for the Asian Tigers

Lars Henriksson
The Financial Times
December 11, 2004 

Asian tigers might be inferior in terms of absolute size and industrial capacity, but are all likely to benefit from economic growth and integration of the whole Asian region in other ways. This is as true as asserting that those smaller nations in the European Union can grow and prosper with neighbours such as the UK, Germany and France. The emergence of China is not just a threat; it also a great opportunity for the Asian tigers.

Click here to read further: http://news.ft.com/cms/s/fcc0fe7c-4b19-11d9-a0ca-00000e2511c8.html

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Asia Takes  A Historic Step 

The Japan Times
December 4, 2004 

Historians may well look back at this week's summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and call it the first real move toward creating a regional economic group that unites all of Asia. It pushed the political agenda forward as well, signaling a shift in the ASEAN-Plus-Three (Japan, China and South Korea) get-together that follows the summit, and inaugurated new relations with ASEAN's other dialogue partners.

Click here to read further: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/geted.pl5?ed20041204a1.htm



China-ASEAN Free Trade Zone to be Positive 

Xinhua Online
December 2, 2004 

A Chinese economic expert says the launch of a China-ASEAN free trade zone will have a positive and profound influence on the Asian economic integration process. 

Click here to read further: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-12/02/content_2287381.htm



Asia Stands Divided Against Dollar and Euro

William Pesek Jr.
December 2, 2004

Size matters, something Southeast Asian economies have come to understand as they try to compete globally. It explains why they now invite Japan, China and South Korea to their regional confabs.

If Asia is going to compete with the U.S. and Europe, the logic goes, and wield real economic influence, it needs to get bigger. While the 10-member scope of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, is fine, bringing Asia's three biggest economies into the fold makes it more relevant.

Click here to read further: http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000039&cid=pesek&sid=aFV8vpyJr2uU



Towards An East Asian Community

The Korean Herald
December 2, 2004

When the leaders of 13 East Asian nations agreed at a meeting in Laos earlier this week to hold the first East Asian summit in Kuala Lumpur next year, they set in motion a historic process aimed at creating an East Asian version of the European Union. Only several years ago, the concept of an East Asian Community was something unthinkable. But an array of factors, including the common experience of the 1997-98 financial crisis and the deepening globalization trend, changed East Asian thinking on regional integration.

We welcome the historic decision. In fact, East Asia should have moved toward a regional grouping much earlier, given its huge economic potential and the existence of large trading blocs in other regions of the world. The 13 nations in East Asia - the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China, Japan and Korea - have about 2 billion people, one third of the world population, with their combined GDP accounting for about 20 percent of the world's aggregate GDP. They also hold almost half of the total foreign exchange reserves of the world.

Click here to read further: http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/SITE/data/html_dir/2004/12/02/200412020012.asp



One Asia

The Jakarta Post
December 1, 2004

The walls of division which separate the people's of South, Southeast and East Asia came down earlier this week for a brief moment as leaders of 14 Asian countries gathered in Vientiane as equals and colleagues.The annual summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Monday and Tuesday included meetings with leaders from China, Japan, South Korea and India.

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Three Nation Action Strategy

The Asahi Online
December 1, 2004

Another step was taken toward the economic integration of East Asian countries. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun adopted a joint action strategy that included formulating rules on trade, investment and protection of intellectual property rights. The leaders met at the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus 3 held in Laos.

Inter-governmental negotiations will soon get under way to sign an agreement on those matters.

Click here to read further: http://www.asahi.com/english/opinion/TKY200412010117.html