4 月 01

The purpose of the paper is to sketch out a grand design for Northeast Asia on the brand new canvas that is the 21st century. Northeast Asia holds enormous potential for both dispute and development. The continuing uncertainty associated with the past 100 years of colonialism in Northeast Asia and the remnants of the cold war may create tensions and lead to some conflicts in the region. But regional development equaling that of the European Union or NAFTA is also a possibility if the region’s capital, technology, labor force and natural resources are used to complement each other to create a mechanism for multilateral cooperation. These potentials may also be influenced by the region’s rich diversity of natural environment, race, culture, historical awareness and per capita income as well as in its political systems—liberalism versus communism and market economies versus controlled economies.

By setting up a regional development framework and conceiving a grand design for Northeast Asia that embraces such diversity, we can begin our discussions for the region’s future from a trans-boundary viewpoint. The grand design for Northeast Asia is aimed at the establishment of a symbiotic community where people in Northeast Asia recognize their differences and share their wealth, and where disputes and military security issues are mitigated and a spontaneous economic bloc based on economic assistance is realized.

The structure of the cold war power balance still remains on the north-south border of the Korean Peninsula. Is there any way to build a mechanism for cooperative security based on economic assistance and social symbiosis rather than the current collective military security in this region? Furthermore, are there any effective solutions to deal with the serious global issues of the 21st century, such as terrorism, poverty/economic gap, a fragile financial system and the environment?

While no other region is as diverse as Northeast Asia, to accept these differences we must first build a complementary relationship among Northeast Asian countries, and this in turn will lead to the construction of a symbiotic community or an economic bloc. Although the “philosophy of symbiosis,” the principle of accepting each other’s values, is said to exist in this cultural sphere, negative legacies such as colonialism and past military conflicts have been suppressing it.

Recognizing the diversity of Northeast Asia and adopting this philosophy of symbiosis, we need to draw a grand design that ought to form the foundation of development in Northeast Asia. Moreover, by developing international public goods and local public goods across borders and achieving their physical integration efficiently, we can build a symbiotic community that encompasses the economic infrastructure and the social capital of the region. Such a design will surely be a new attempt at fostering mutual trust in the region.