Go to contents

“East Asia Should Create a Regional Community”

Posted June. 19, 2007 03:40,   


Professor Akira Irie divided world history since the 20th century into two parts: pre-World War II - the period of Imperialism, and post-1970s – the period of post-nationalism.

Professor Irie said that international relationship was determined by the relations among the powers in the imperial period. After World War II, the competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union to expand their alliances determined the international relations, so East Asia including the Korean peninsula also fell into the conflict.

The world went through an important change in the mid 1970s. In this period, transnational superpowers emerged.

Professor Irie said, “As the world was economically integrated, interdependence between nations increased in this period. Also, technological innovation enabled individuals and countries to freely exchange information and ideas.” “NGOs and civil society grew to have a huge influence on international relations” he added.

While globalization has brought about some side effects such as the gap between rich and poor and ideological and religious conflicts, it has created a world of diversity. So it has become more important whether we can have a shared value and vision.

Taking an example of the EU, he said that Asia should develop into a regional community with a shared value and vision.

Irie said, “As East Asia took an important position in the world economy, Asia which was a target of exploitation has grown to have a say in the international community. In order for East Asia to have a greater influence in international relations, it should create a regional community like the EU.”

He said that the security of East Asia, especially that of Korea, should also be addressed in the framework of Asian regionalism. With economic growth, interdependence between countries has also grown. “Against this backdrop, we can create a shared vision. In order to improve the relations among East Asian countries, corporations and civil society should involve,” he added.

Values that can be shared in this region are human rights and the environment, he said. “If we can share a value, and realize our dreams through it, we will be able to save the world from destruction,” Irie added.

In this lecture, Hah Yeong-seon, a professor of Seoul National University, Kang Kyu-hyeong, a professor of Myongji University, participated, and Kim Hak-jun, president of Dong-A Daily, Ha Yong-chul, president of the Korean Association of International Studies, attended.