Author: Paul André

Research Article

Year: 2018, Volume 18 Number 2

Pages: 80–98


This paper studies regional cooperation in Northeast Asia. Relations between China, South Korea, and Japan are featured by simultaneous centripetal and centrifugal forces. The three economies are increasingly interconnected and interdependent, and a rising number of problems are transnational (pollution or any problem with externalities). However, the three countries remain reluctant to cooperate with one another especially because they keep regional ambitions or the other agents’ ambitions are perceived as a threat. In such a context, it can be argued that trilateral relations in Northeast Asia are better described by coopetition than cooperation. As a consequence, regional collaboration in Northeast Asia will be unstable and scalable. That is why we can be reasonably pessimistic about regional cooperation in Northeast Asia. The cooperative relationship is by nature unstable and evolutionary. I, therefore, maintain that regional cooperation in Northeast Asia is a result of circumstances and it is a second-best strategy.