Opportunities and Constraints in East Asian Regionalism


Date and Time

January 12, 2009 5:15 PM - 6:30 PM



Open to the public.

RSVP required by 5PM January 09.


Philippines Conference Room

The U.S. financial crisis has spread around the globe. Financial globalization means that most countries and regions are not immune to the contagious effects of a financial crisis that originates in one country.

East Asian countries had already experienced the contagious effects of a financial crisis in 1997. That year, a financial crisis that broke out in Thailand and Indonesia reached Malaysia and then South Korea. Each of these countries reacted differently to the crisis. South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand accepted International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditionalities that required neoliberal economic restructuring in return for emergency loans, while Malaysia rejected the IMF offer and instead encouraged the inflow of speculative financial capital, while reforming the banking and financial system. In the aftermath of the East Asian financial crisis, regional economic, financial and security cooperation were discussed among East Asian countries. These efforts resulted in the Chiang Mai Initiative, the Bond Initiative, the East Asian Summit, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Six Party Talks.

Thus, regionalism in East Asia was revived in response to external shocks, such as global financial volatility, endogenous opportunities such as East Asian market compatibility (Pempel, 2008), endogenous security threats such as the North Korean nuclear development, and exogenous opportunities such as "bringing in the U.S." (Pempel, 2008).

Nonetheless, East Asian regionalism is still at a low level of institutionalization compared to Europe. East Asian regionalism is still basically "bottom-up, corporate (market)-driven regionalism" (Pempel, 2005). 

I will discuss the obstacles and the opportunities that Northeast Asian countries are facing since the end of the Cold War and the advent of globalization.

Hyug Baeg Im is Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea. He is Dean at the Graduate School of Policy Studies and Director at Institute for Peace Studies. He received B.A. in political science from Seoul National University, M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago. He was visiting professor at Georgetown University (1995-1996), Duke University (1997), Stanford University (2002-2003) and visiting fellow at International Forum for Democratic Studies, National Endowment for Democracy, Washington DC (1995-1996). He served as a presidential adviser of both Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun presidency. His current research focuses on the impact of IT revolution and globalization on Korean democracy. His publications include “The Rise of Bureaucratic Authoritarianism in South Korea,” World Politics, Vol. 34, No. 2 (1987), “South Korean Democratic Consolidation in Comparative Perspective” in Consolidating Democracy in South Korea (Lynne Rienner, 2000) and “’Crony Capitalism’ in South Korea, Thailand, and Taiwan: Myth and Reality,” (co-authored with Kim, Byung Kook) Journal of East Asian Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2001), “Faltering Democratic Consolidation in South Korea: Democracy at the End of Three Kims Era” Democratization, Vol. 11, No. 5(2004), “Christian Churches and Democratization in South Korea” in Tun-jen Cheng and Deborah A. Brown (eds.), Religious Organizations and Democratization: Comparative Case Studies in Contemporary Asia (M.E. Sharpe, 2006) and “The US Role in Korean Democracy and Security since Cold War Era,” International Relations of the Asia Pacific, Vol. 6, No.2 (2006).

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