This conference examines the cross currents of growing regional integration and rising nationalism in Northeast Asia. This strategic region is standing at a turning point in its history, marked by the end of the Cold War and by the emergence of China as a major power. With the major economies of China, Japan and South Korea growing increasingly interdependent, the movement toward regionalism is gaining momentum. Yet interdependency, often set in a global context, also encourages growing nationalism in all three countries and beyond. The historic rivalry between Japan and China for leadership in Northeast Asia has re-emerged.
This conference posed a set of vital questions to understand how regionalism and nationalism interact in Northeast Asia and potential future trends. What are the competing visions of regional integration now being considered and what are their prospects for realization? How do national tensions, including the Sino-Japanese rivalry, stunt the movement toward regionalism? What is the American relationship to Northeast Asian regionalism? Does the system of Cold War alliances built by the United States still have a role in Northeast Asia?