New Forms of Southeast Asian Regional Governance: From 'Codes of Conduct' to 'Greater East Asia'

R. James Ferguson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


From 1999 ASEAN (the Association of South-East Asian Nations) has seen a renewed effort in regional integration. After the economic crises of 1997-1998, and with serious political turmoil in Indonesia, external commentators had repeatedly emphasized the limits of regional organisations and programs, including ASEAN, the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). However, ASEAN leaders have demonstrated a continued commitment to ASEAN, and a willingness to invent new ways to deal with the problems that currently challenge the wider region. Part of this re-orientation has been an initial attempt to reach out to institutionalize deeper dialogue with Northeast Asia, a move which saw the term 'Greater East Asia' being broached. Based on closer cooperation between ASEAN and 'plus-three' group of Japan, China and South Korea, such a conceptualization might allow an enhanced ASEAN to regain diplomatic leadership in a wider regional setting.

For Southeast Asia as a whole, and increasingly for East Asia, the appropriate level of organisation for comprehensive security is at the regional rather than the national level. This would involve deepening the already existing partial convergence of foreign affairs, trade and economic policies within ASEAN and to a lesser degree in the wider East Asian setting. The mechanisms for doing this, however, need not follow rigid or artificial architectures, but can make use of new conceptions of 'soft governance' in a regional setting.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNon-Traditional Security Issues in Southeast Asia
EditorsAndrew T. H. Tan, J. D. Kenneth Boutin
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherInstitute of Defence and Strategic Studies
Number of pages43
ISBN (Print)981-4022-16-0
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2001


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