One of the paradoxes of our time is that regionalism is gaining strength along with globalization. Europe has already abandoned its traditional frontiers. The Americas also follow the path of unification with free trade agreements. Globalization and regionalism are the two sides of a coin created by market forces. After the fall of communism there is no other sustainable alternative for that market. The tendency of regionalism prevails, with less strength in East Asia. Its definite shape will depend on political decisions and strategic choices made today. In my opinion, this is something decisive as macroeconomic issues in the 21st century depend on the relations among the Americas, Europe and East Asia. If our region does not join forces, it will lose to Europe and the Americas. The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed on creating a common market before 2020 and its share in the Asian economy increased from 20% in 1980 to 40% last year. Our regionalism will be less institutionalized and will be less bureaucratic than in Europe, not to mention that it will have a multi-polar character.
The historic relations among China, India and Japan have always been complex. Beijing, Delhi and Tokyo understand the need to cooperate bur the market forces that unify the region will complicate the trend of their interests by adding new variables of competition and association. China and Japan have never been great simultaneous powers in the history of East Asia. A brief but bloody war opposed China and India in the 1960s. Currently, commercial exchanges between both countries flourish but competition to access the sources of energy will increase, which will complicate the situation of Pakistan. Relations between India and Japan are less problematic but are based on cultural insecurity. Rivalry and competition among big powers is a reality of life and the persistence of national interests that obstruct European integration prove it. However, rivalry does not necessarily lead to conflict.
When we founded the ASEAN 38 years ago we never thought that the main topic of the summit that will take place in December in Malaysia will be that of East Asian borders. Should it be limited to its traditional frontiers or should we include India, Australia and New Zealand? Anyway, these countries will participate in the meeting. The summit must include as many participants as possible and discuss several topics.
Americans should participate in the process of solving the security problems of the region. They have taken part in various wars in the region for freedom and opening. Growth has been possible thanks to the stability they brought. There are voices in the United States calling China a new strategic adversary in a new Cold War. They are those who suggest solving the Chinese problem while the country is still weak. It is a dangerous venture that would only strengthen nationalism and would turn the Chinese into our enemies. In my opinion, the presidents of the United States and China know that good relations between their countries are essential. George W. Bush made it clear that he would not support the independence of Taiwan and both countries agree on the fact that the existence of nuclear weapons in Korea would not be beneficial. In addition to this summit, we should create institutions that allow for reflection on many concrete problems. The United States does not necessarily has to be a member of each institution but it has to be an indissoluble part of the general architecture.

Source (Russia)

" Новые границы Азии ", by Goh Chok Tong,, June 10, 2005.