East Asian Order Formation and Sino-Japanese Relations

Men Honghua
KF Chair Professor
Party School of CPC Central Committee

The security, political, and economic maps of East Asia have been transformed, and an institutionalized framework for regional cooperation, represented by the “ten-plus-three” process and the East Asia Summit, is emerging. East Asia is surging economically, and this development helps explain why experts perceive that power and influence in international relations are shifting toward Asia. What happens to order in East Asia will significantly affect the role Asia plays in the emergence of any Asia-centric international system. Thus, I begin by providing an overview of order in the East Asian region, emphasizing the importance of economic integration and the pivotal role of Sino-Japanese relations in the formation of a new type of order in East Asia. Then, I examine some new aspects of order formation in the early twenty-first century, which I call power shift, problem shift, and paradigm shift. These developments affect the logic of regional order formation generally and in East Asia specifically. Third, I explore the dynamics of the evolving East Asian order. Fourth, I consider the future of the East Asian order and argue that the key to its further development revolves around the relationship between China and Japan. Finally, I outline a strategic framework for future Sino-Japanese relations based on the convergence and institutionalization of their common interests bilaterally, regionally, and globally.

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