Friday, November 2, 2007

East Asia Community
East Asian Community is a proposed Trade bloc for the East Asia countries that may arise out of either ASEAN Plus Three or the East Asia Summit.

Potential members

The idea of establishing a trade community within East Asia has had a long history composed of the then-members of ASEAN (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand), the Peoples' Republic of China, Japan, and South Korea. This was also a failure since it faced strong objections from Japan and the United States
After a series of failures, ASEAN and its neighbors created another regional grouping the ASEAN Plus Three, established in 1997 and institutionalised in 1999. [2]. The significance of this grouping was demonstrated in the response to the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997. ASEAN Plus Three appeared to take the role of community building in East Asia.
In 1999, a Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation [3] was issued on the topic of East Asian integration by ASEAN.
In 1998, ASEAN Plus Three established The East Asian Vision Group of eminent persons which reported in 2001. In turn in 2001 the East Asian Study Group was established. In 2002, ASEAN Plus Three received The Final Report of the East Asian Study Group. [4] This included a recommendation to establish an East Asia Summit.
As a result, the status of ASEAN Plus Three is unclear with the existence of the more recent East Asia Summit established in 2005 following this process and involving all the members of ASEAN Plus Three, together with India, Australia and New Zealand.[5] [6] [7]

Subsequent to the EAS
The shape of the East Asia Community remains something to be defined in the future. The issues being explored at this stage deal with whether there will be a Community which must be resolved prior to understanding what it will look like. [15]
Some have linked the EAS with a future broader Asian Economic Community like the European Community. [16] However some commentators see this an overly optimistic vision [17] and it is plainly in the very distant future if it is to occur - the European Community has taken decades to reach its current shape.
On any view community building is not a short term project. However after the second EAS the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was confident that the EAS would lead to an East Asia Community. [18] [19] China had also apparently accepted this was the case. [20]
If achieved the Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia (CEPEA) would be a tangible first step in the community building process. The second EAS seems to have increased confidence in CEPEA but is still only a proposal. [21]
For the moment currency union, as distinct from the Asian Currency Unit, is not even being purused within ASEAN, much less the broader members of the EAS. [22] [23]

Economics aspect
The cultural, religious, language and racial groupings in the EAS are diverse. [26] There is also great disparity in the size and level of development in the economies and in the populations of the nations involved. Plainly the level of support within the EAS for such an ambitious role for the EAS is mixed.
The Japanese Government has proposed an exchange program over the five years from 2007 to 2011 with up to 6,000 youths per annumm visiting Japan from EAS member countries. [27]

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