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In Session: The Enshrined Past, Present, and Future: Political and Juridical Perspectives on East Asian Integration
1: The weakness of institutional frameworks in East Asia: Discord between East Asian incomplete sovereignty and attempts at establishing a regional economic community
Thursday, March 25, 2021
8:30am – 10:00am EDT
Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany
For any emergent regional community-building order to engage in more than merely activities of regional cooperation, then it first needs to develop trusting bonds, support the acceptance of common values, and undergird its processes with a legal community. Indeed exceeding contemporary confidence-based activities of regional economic cooperation, ASEAN Plus Three (APT) concluded the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in 2019, which is expected to promote both commercial liberalization and a trust-based regional economic community-building similar to the European Economic Community (EEC) created in 1957.
Nevertheless, amid East Asia’s lack of EEC-style legal institutions with powers of supranational governance, APT’s cooperative activities have neither fostered trust nor established a consensus of common values. From a judicial perspective, the situation stems from discord between the games of incomplete sovereignty and modern international politics since the end of World War II. Excluding Japan and Thailand, APT was a collective victim of the age of imperialism and was formally granted constitutional independence from the UN Charter in 1945. With changes in the substance of advanced capitalist statehood and supranational regulations, Europe has re-established the notion of sovereignty as a supreme power of law, and its society has adopted two modified rules of the sovereignty game: regulated intervention and cooperative reciprocity in transnational relations. Meanwhile, APT has faced the urgent challenge of reconstructing constitutionally sustained independent states, and its incomplete modern statehood has cornered it into abiding distorted regulatory rules of the sovereignty game (i.e., arbitrarily interpreted non-intervention and reciprocity) both inside and outside the region.