The call of East Asia Summit

By Li Wen
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, October 28, 2010
Adjust font size:

The East Asia Summit (EAS) will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Oct 30, with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attending it as "special guests". The EAS, an important regional leadership forum to promote cooperation in East Asia, was first held in 2005.

After World War II, the economic miracles of Japan and the Four Mini-Dragons (the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan and Hong Kong) enabled East Asia to exert its influence on the world. Since the 1990s, powered by China's fast economic development, the East Asian economy has maintained strong growth and promoted regional economic cooperation.

In recent years, important global powers have converged in East Asia because they want to cash in on the region's fast development. That the US and Russia will become formal EAS members from next year, even though geographically they are outside East Asia, and their active participation at the summit prove the importance of the region.

The East Asian order began centering on major powers' relations with China some years ago. After the rupturing of ties between China and the erstwhile Soviet Union in the 1960s, the old "bipolar structure" dominated by Washington and Moscow in East Asia was replaced by the "China-US-Soviet Union triangular relationship".

After the end of the Cold War, China, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) became the three major powers balancing each other in the region. Now that the US and Russia are formally taking part in the EAS, the region's structure is becoming "pentagonal". China is at the center of the pentagon, with the US, Russia, Japan, ASEAN and India holding an angle each.

The US and Russia are eager to join the EAS because East Asia represents the hope and future of the world economy. The global financial crisis dealt a severe blow to the US' strength and international standing, and depressed the European Union's economy. In contrast, the East Asian economy not only proved resilient, but also shouldered the heavy responsibility of leading the world economy to recovery.

Over the past decade, the decline of the US and the rise of China have presented a stark contrast and fuelled people's suspicion over the sustainability of the capitalist mode of economic development. The global financial crisis has lent credence to their suspicion.

East Asian economic integration has been deepening after the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and the progress of the "10+3" (ASEAN plus China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) regional economic cooperation. The peace that has prevailed in East Asia for two decades has made the US realize that China has replaced it as the dominant player in terms of security in the region.

Out of distrust of China and fearing that the US would be "squeezed out of Asia", the Barack Obama administration began strengthening its existing alliances and striking new partnerships in East Asia with the aim of renewing its leadership in the region and contain China's rise.

Russia, on its part, is interested in East Asian cooperation because it wants to cash in on the region's fast economic growth, and has been participating in the EAS as an observer since the first EAS in 2005. Besides, it also wants to renew its influence in Southeast Asia.

1   2   Next  

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comments

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from