PhD project: The rise of China and East Asia Integration

  • Zhang, Jiuan (Projektdeltager)



Since Japan proposed the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere in the 1920s, a long road has been taken by the region’s joint efforts toward an East Asian Integration process. After the cold plus hot war in East Asia, political distrusts and security concerns arise on the top agenda of this region. But the regional integration steps are moving forward even though it is impossible for East Asian countries to work together in such sensitive fields as sovereigenty. During the 1960s, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established. Moreover, after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, consensus has been made on the regional economic and financial cooperation by ASEAN plus China, Japan and Korea. The followed East Asia Summit in 2005 projected the integrated “East Asian Community” as a long-term goal in which many countries would take regional integration as a commitment despite many challenges ahead. At the same time, the rise of China as a regional power is seen as a decisive role in shaping the process and leading the direction of this regional integration.

However, on the theoretical level, gaps are obvious between the East Asia’s past and current status and the traditional IR theories in connection with the EU experiences. Moreover, these models seen unable to explain what is happening in East Asia now. What will be the future of East Asia’s integration and what kind of experience can this region borrowed from the building process of Europe Union are also questions the academic puzzled.

This study seeks to fill the gaps mentioned above by conducting comparative, historical and culure studies between and within Europe and East Asia.

1) A comprehensive historical study on Europe and East Asia will be carried out to find the European integration experiences and the special route East Asia Integration has passed.

2) A comparative study is to be used to both certify and falsify Europe experiences in the East Asia context. The gap between these mainstream integration theories and the development of East Asia as a regional integration process are expacted to be fulfilled.

3)The ultimate goal of this research is to induce a possible model to support the sustained development of East Asia Integration through a “Process- based” lens.

The project will be conducted within the context of IR theories, IPE approach and the Culture studies. However, the above mentioned "Process-based" model's future evolution can be an open one.

Methodology and Approach:
The objective mentioned above is achieved by reviewing the literatures on East Asia Integration in connection with these classic integration / regionalism theories based on European experiences. What's more, comparative integration study will be applied to explain the typical road East Asia has taken or the possible model which will be emerging in the future. Aiming to explain the distingishing features of East Asia Integration, the researcher is going to give a case study focus on the ASEAN’s leading role or a potential ASEAN leading model. Interview, as a qualitative research method to collect different opinions from academics and policy-makers in relevant countries will be used as an integrated component.

On the other hand, during the theoretical rethinking process, constructive approach(IR), historical approach, culture approach, IPE approach and security studies should be used to built up the rhetorical framework.

This research will be a comprehensive retrospect of the East Asian integration processes. At the same time, specific European experiences will be mentioned to explain East Asia’s present dilemmas and further steps. European experiences is to certified as a useful reference to the East Asian Integration.However, the most important value can be the potential "Process-based" model in East Asia.

Practical implication:
This research tries to offer new angles and new thoughts to both the academics and the policy makers to sustrain and promote the regional integration process in East Asia.

Research plan:
The research work will be carried out over a three year period with each year being used to cover a substantial part stage of the work.

1st Year (October 2010 - September 2011)
Establish the conceptual framework and craft outline of the monograph/ Research Design

2nd Year (October 2011 - September 2012)
Data gathering, Interviews, field work, preliminary testing

3rd Year (October 2012 - September 2013)
Data analysis, intepretation and inferencing
Effektiv start/slut dato01/10/201001/04/2014


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