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Asia … whose Asia? A ‘return to the future’ of a Sino-Indic Asian Community

Abstract : This article is an attempt to provide a corrective to a marked Sinocentrism in contemporary debates on regional integration in Asia. In order to do so, firstly, as a heuristic device, a crucial distinction is made between ‘regionalization’, as involving multifaceted integrative socio-economic processes, and ‘regionalism’, defined as a form of identity construction akin to nationalism. Secondly, a degree of historical depth is proposed to better explain recent developments. Finally, throughout the article, an interdisciplinary approach is taken involving employing realist, historical/sociological institutionalist and constructivist perspectives in the area of international relations. The first two East Asian summits are contextualized in relation to various conceptualizations of an Asian Community over the last century or so. Particular attention is given to the 1955 Asian-African Conference in Bandung as a watershed in this evolution. Varying conceptions of East Asia as part of a larger, transpacific regional entity (APEC) and in, and of, itself (East Asian Economic Group/ASEAN +3) are examined. In situating the first two East Asian summits five developments of significance are examined. These are: a continuing Japanese role in setting the regional agenda; the ambivalence of China's positioning vis-à-vis neighbouring countries; the re-entry of Central Asia in the Asian regional equation; India's ‘return to Asia’; and efforts to maintain ASEAN's centrality in regional construction. These factors, it is argued, are militating towards a return to the Sino-Indic Asia of Bandung. It is thus suggested that notions of an Asian Community involving only Northeast and Southeast Asia are now rejoined by a concept of a Greater Asia. While the historical roots of this conception partly explain its salience, it nevertheless competes with other complementary – and antagonistic – definitions of an Asian Community of more recent lineage.
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Submitted on : Friday, November 5, 2021 - 10:02:02 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 11:42:04 AM

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David, Frederic Camroux. Asia … whose Asia? A ‘return to the future’ of a Sino-Indic Asian Community. Pacific Review, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2007, 20 (4), pp.551 - 575. ⟨hal-03417778⟩

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