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PSPD    People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

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  • 2001.01.31
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Rethinking ASEM and the Role of Social Actors


This paper, a summary of the full version in Korean was written in accordance with KTUCs proposal and initiative and with the support of Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Seoul office.

October 2000

l A Forgotten Grandeur

Asia-Europe Meeting or ASEM started in 1996 in Bangkok as a grand scheme of cooperation among countries of Europe and East Asia. The leaders of the two regions confidently declared in Bangkok: 

The Meeting recognised the need to strive for a common goal of maintaining and

enhancing peace and stability, as well as creating conditions conductive for economic and

social development. To this end, the Meeting forged a new comprehensive Asia-Europe

partnership for Greater Growth. This partnership aims at strengthening links between Asia

and Europe thereby contributing to peace, global stability and prosperity. Chairmans

Statement, Asia-Europe Meeting, Bangkok, 2 March 1996.

ASEMs vision group even declared the two regions might be integrated for common goals:

Our vision is gradually integrate Asia and Europe into an area of peace and shared

development, a prosperous common living sphere in the 21st Century. This is a sphere in

which our knowledge, wealth, cultural heritage, democratic ideals, educational assets,

intellectual aspirations and our new technologies are closely interwined and exchanged,

without specific barriers or constraints Asia-Europe Vision Group, For a Better Tomorrow:

Asia-Europe Partnership in the 21st Century, 1999.

Accordingly, when the Third Asia-Europe Meeting was held in Seoul, in October 2000, with 25

heads of government or state from European Union and Asia, it also marked one of the most

important diplomatic events in South Korea, warmly hosted by the South Korean government and

President Kim, who was to become a Nobel Peace laureate in a few months. On the other hand,

neither this successful event nor the original grandeur of inspiration was even noted in Europe,

whose investment and trade are supposed to boost troubled Asian economies. During the time of

the meeting, it was even impossible in Europe to realise that such a meeting involving major

leaders of European Union was actually taking place somewhere in the world.

This is an intriguing phenomenon, given the fact that ASEM has always been praised in the

official talks as a historic and comprehensive interregional cooperation among global partners

promoting political dialogue, economic and other areas of cooperation, an unprecedented

experiment between the two important regions. It is also intriguing in the sense that in either

region one can hardly find any appropriate social reaction to such a grand scheme of getting

close to each other.

If we look into the diversity in political systems and economic strengths in member countries, as

well as into the present minimal level of exchanges between the two regions except in trade and

investment, the original grandeur of scheme for ASEM appears to be too ambitious even to

uninformed eyes. In fact, the public perception of ASEM today in any part of the two regions is

quite contrary to the claims made by government leaders In his closing speech as the chair of

the meeting, South Koreas President Kim Dae Jung asserted: Over the past two days, Asia and

Europe have made a major step forward in their march to forge a genuine partnership for

prosperity and stability in the new millennium. Press Release 2000-001, Media & Public

Relations Team Office for the Third Asia-Europe Meeting, 21/10/2000.. This is not only an

observation made by outsiders, but also a realisation shared by the official vision group of

ASEM as the need for wider publicity for ASEM is aptly recognised. Asia-Europe Vision Group,

For a Better Tomorrow: Asia-Europe Partnership in the 21st Century, para. 90.

With possibly only one exception with South Korea during the time of ASEM 3 meeting, the

word ASEM or Asia-Europe Meeting has now become something worse than a bureaucratic

jargon, something of a secret code that most people dont understand. The grand objective of

ASEM as Asia-Europe partnership is even less known. Most of the media report in Seoul was

focused on economic benefits that European leaders might bring in to the country. In other

words, as discussions and decisions are well confined to a few government officials, business

groups and related academics, the whole process of supposedly interregional politics either failed

or didnt bother to produce any social impact for this grand idea.

As a number of NGOs and social movements tried to engage with official ASEM process from

the beginning, it is important to understand the fall of ASEM from grandeur, and thus,

hopefully, draw some implications for more effective engagement in the future. In this article this

problematic will be asked in three questions in relation to appropriate role of social actors Here,

the term social actors will be used to designate those NGOs and social movement organisations

that worked to represent peoples of the two regions in ASEM process vis- -vis the narrow range

of interest represented by the governmental and business representatives in ASEM.. First, is

ASEM an instrument for globalising the neo-liberal economic agenda of the global corporate

power, or does it genuinely have a potential to become a comprehensive arrangement of

inter-regional cooperation between EU and East Asian countries? Second, will ASEM be

eventually able to take up social and political dimension of interregional cooperation after

repeated pressure from civil society elements of the two regions, as formulated, for example, in

the Social Forum proposal? Third, if the formation of ASEM was an outcome of complex

interplay of national, regional, and international politico-economic developments of the early

1990s, particularly influenced by the combination of the rise of neo-liberal agenda and the EUs

orientalist approach to Asia For an excellent discussion on EUs approach to East Asia prior to

ASEM, see G.A. Richards and C. Kirkpatrick, Reorienting Interregional Co-operation in the

Global Political Economy: Europes East Asian Policy , Journal of Common Market Studies,

Vol.37, No.7, pp.683-710., how does this inform the way that critical social actors engage in

national, regional and international politics surrounding ASEM?

l Need for a New Look

Whenever there is a concern for state-society relations on international level, including the type

of NGO engagement in ASEM, todays global dynamism suggests that we cannot go very far

without recognising the tension between neoliberal project too often called by a misnomer

globalisation and its reaction, resistance of anti-globalisation. It is now widely accepted that the

international and national policies promoted by WTO, IMF and World Bank have strong common

basis, the so-called Washington Consensus. At the same time, the increasingly globalised

resistance of anti-globalisation also manifest some commonness, a historical continuity starting

from anti-IMF riots in Latin America in the 1980s, developing later into wider consensus

against the IMFs structural adjustment programs and international debt situation among civil

society actors as well as into various demands for social dimension in market economy.

ASEM, too, is not free from this tension. On the one hand, there has been a traditional view

that an international governmental arrangement such as ASEM serves for better cooperation

among equal partners towards the shared goal of free trade and investment. This view is well

illustrated in a report by the Council for Asia-Europe Cooperation set up by an agreement of

ASEM 1 meeting in Bangkok in 1996.

Compared with the historical experience, the Asia-Europe relationship is one of equality.

This is not to say that the two sides are equally balanced the European Union, like the

United States, is endowed with immense structural power, while the Asian partner is not

but it does mean that neither side claims predominance over the other, nor is so perceived

by the other side. If the ASEM process does no more than expunge lingering memories of

the former colonial relationship, it will already have achieved a great deal. To preserve this

characteristic will require both sides to eschew any proselytizing mission. If they succeed in

this, ASEM could become a forum in which differences can be discussed objectively.

Council for Asia-Europe Cooperation, The Rationale and Common Agenda for Asia-Europe

Cooperation, Council for Asia-Europe Cooperation, 1997, p.4.

On the basis of such optimism, the Council for Asia-Europe Cooperation suggests that ASEM

can be a forum for diverse security issues ranging from political to economic and even to new

security agenda, a contribution to regional integration, and a factor completing the geopolitical

triangle of the North America-EU-East Asia. Ibid, pp. 4-15.

As much optimism was linked to the scheme of gradeur in ASEM, so was the scheme linked to

EUs orientalist approach to (East) Asia when it was preparing for ASEM. Richards and

Kirkpatrick observed:

Things began to change at the end of the 1980s. Within the (European) Community, as

well as at the level of individual Member States, there was a revision in relations with

Asia which became one of the most active external policy-making arenas. In these

circumstances, a positive and proactive look East policy was adopted, driven by a phalanx

of powerful forces, identifying East Asian economies as the engine of world growth for the

foreseeable future and placing Asian markets near the centre of the EUs new strategy for

globalizing its economy and its view of international relations. G.A. Richards and C.

Kirkpatrick, Reorienting Interregional Co-operation in the Global Political Economy:

Europes East Asian Policy , Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol.37, No.7, pp.689-690.

This seemed to have signalled EU an alarm.

The Union stands to lose out on the economic miracle taking place [in Asia] because of

the strong competition: from Japan and the United States, and also increasingly from

companies within the regions newly-industrialised and capital rich countries such as Korea

and Taiwan, Province of China. If European companies are unable to take a full share of the worlds main

centre of growth in the next decade, this will affect their profits and competitiveness, not

only I Asian markets, but also worldwide. Commission of the European Communities,

Towards a New Asia Strategy, COM(94)427 final, p.17, re-quoted from Richards and


This urgency gave EUs new strategy towards East Asia an overtone, going beyond the level of

usual technical approach in trade and investment policies towards something comprehensive, thus

conveying some sort of new message other than commonplace free economics. This overtone was

even expressed as a common project of grandeur. Commission of the European Communities,

Creating a New Dynamics in EU-ASEAN Relations, Brussels: Com(96) 314.

Now peace and stability in Asia acquired a strategic importance to Europe, and for this end,

mutual understanding and sharing norms of democracy and human rights were to be part of the

dialogue between strategic partners. And, a new look to new partners seemed to require a new

understanding of their culture as well. For example:

For many Europeans, the ability of Asian regimes to achieve stability, hierarchical

integration and social cohesion was the most salient element and Asian social values a

supposed mixture of education, family, discipline, self-help and entrepreneurship overlaid by

pop-Confucianism were seen to complement Asian business values. The appeal of Asian

values goes beyond the fact that there are points of convergence of political and social

ideologies across the two regions. European leaders have highlighted the competitiveness of

the Asian way to instil fear of job losses and urge the need for modifications in the

behaviour and expectations of their own workers and citizens. Richards and Kirkpatrick,

ibid, p.699.

This was a distorted reading of the success of East Asia, forgetting or ignoring the vast number

of workers and citizens victimised in the wake of growth-first national drive. In this regard, the

success story of East Asia was another orientalist interpretation of East Asia in Edward Sides

sense, shaping domestic responses in Europe through their response to the Other. Asia was thus

conveniently integrated into domestic politics of Europe

In other words, even before ASEM there had been subtle but effective inter-regional interactions

in terms of political discourses, most notably for East Asia, centred on the discourse of

economic miracle and Asian values . These purposefully distorted images of reality were

taken into political discourse of Europe when such efforts were easily linked with hegemonic

approaches to global issues, as often expressed in emphasising the need for common foreign

policy of EU. Again, East Asia as one of the Others was used to legitimise a political project

of some of We in Europe, first in the discourse of cooperation before 1997 and then into

forgetfulness afterwards.

On the other hand, one can summarise the NGO engagement in ASEM since the beginning until

ASEM 3 as a kind of efforts to open a social dimension within a theoretically comprehensive

interregional cooperation process. This purpose was to challenge the overwhelming dominance of

neoliberal thinking among governmental and business representatives. But, the question is if this

is still a reasonable way of engagement by itself. Though now it is said that ASEM is maturing

into implementing stage from planning stage, one can hardly see any sort of maturity between

the speedy agreements on strong liberalisation measures concerning trade and investment in the

official meetings, and the non-existence of social dimension and participation of social actors in

that process.

This conspicuous gap between stated aspirations and realities manifests a failure in overcoming

the previously mentioned tension around globalisation. This failure in turn demands a rethinking

the present state of engagement by social actors. Rethinking the engagement of social actors in

ASEM involves how to understand the inner mechanism of ASEM. If we look into the official

discussions and agreements on trade and investment liberalisation, we can see that those agenda

were pushed to agreements purely by bureaucratic mechanism, bypassing proper public or

parliamentary discussions. A good example is given by the process of agreement on specific

investment liberalisation measures that appeared in ASEM meetings since 1999. This refers to the

process of discussion and agreement on Most Effective Measures on to Attract Foreign Direct

Investment. Initiated by the Commission and superficially agreed from Investment Experts

Meeting to Economic Ministers Meeting of ASEM, this policy guideline contains much of the

problematic measures once contained in the aborted Multilateral Agreement on Investment.

Detailed discussion appears of in the Korean version of this paper.

l Rethinking abut ASEM

In ASEM, agenda items on political and social areas were officially never abandoned, and even

get to materialised into a solemn declaration such as the one on peace in Korea approved in

ASEM 3. Even though such a political act is often viewed a diplomatic success and besides the

actual political impact of such declarations, ASEM so far is not free from criticism for its tilt

towards unaccountable push for certain economic agenda. Putting the two contrasting pictures

together, ASEM seems to have achieved a superficial consensus on two themes, to discuss and

enlarge consensus on trade and investment liberalisation along the line of the WTO rules, and to

sustain broad agenda areas open for dialogue. This superficial consensus, it should be noted,

went along without proper public scrutiny or accountability, even at the cost of almost

non-existing public attention. This can be characterised as the bureaucratic instrumentalisation of

interregional politics. This observation is in line with a critical discussion on the relation between

economic liberalisation and marginalisation of political actors.

According to Jonathan Moran in his discussion on the theme for the case of South Korea, the

process of economic liberalisation on the global scale is inherently undemocratic because it is

bound and confined by specific economic interest groups and states that are closely linked to the

global market. Jonathan Moran, 'Contradictions Between Economic Liberalization and

Democratiztion: The Case of South Korea', Democratization, Vol.3, No.4, winter 1996,

p.463-464. In this process, domestic political actors including civil society actors are marginalised

as a tendency. The legitimation for this marginalisation is given by a discourse that the structural

space where states and national interests meet is much more important than domestic political

process, in coordinating global economic interests. Ibid. Thus, diplomacy for economic

cooperation among states is easily exempted from domestic public scrutiny, and governments and

business leaders are too often portrayed as pursuing national interest. Through such diplomacy,

domestic actors become, apparently, weak actors in this international game. In this game, the

economic forces that gained initial influence become more influential, and therefore, reproduce

their own legitimacy through the game. This legitimacy production is at the core of liberalisation

process. Ibid.

Morans conclusion that the tradition of authoritarian state in South Korea has combined with

international liberalisation pressure to the effect of threatening the newly established democratic

mechanism, can find its interregional parallel in ASEM, where the role state and business elite

can be questioned for its democratic principles.

In this regard, ASEM is more a mechanism or tool for producing consensus among political and

business elite on specific line of economic policies, than a set-up for proper interregional

cooperation. Neither is it a mere tool to serve neoliberal agenda, but rather a manifestation of

what can be called a neoliberal type of diplomacy that sets ground for streamlined consensus

formation. The congruence of diplomacy and economic agenda in ASEM is subtle but strong: as

ASEM has put weight on consensus among political and business elite than in the public, and

on consensus formation itself rather than on actual implementation. The very loose organisational

structure and the system of agreement by chairmans statements which lack binding authority are

not weaknesses in this regard, but strengths, because the important implementation of main

policies, on trade and investment liberalisation, is supposed to be carried out and supervised by

other global systems such as the WTO. This is confirmed in the emphasis on the consistency of

all ASEM agreements with the WTO rules, appearing and reappearing in official ASEM

statements. In short, the whole process of ASEM represents an attempt for a loose regime

formation, in particular, formation of a neoliberal interregional regime in congruence with

interregional neoliberal economic and political agenda.

This has implications for the role of social actors in ASEM. It may enrich debates on the

potential of ASEM in the future; whether it is temporarily tilled towards economic agenda and

can be normalised by critical engagement of the social actors and better agenda setting in

accordance with the initial official objectives, or it is a medium designed to produce a neoliberal

consensus, rather than policy implementation, both upward (to global regimes) and downward (to

individual national public) on neoliberal globalisation. It is interesting to note that in the case of

World Bank, the NGO participation and broadening of agenda could be easily incorporated to

widen the consensus basis of neoliberal policies. The former perspective, which seems more

popular among social actors engaged in ASEM, should therefore take into account of the space

of accommodation by todays neoliberal regimes of social participation and diversification of


In relation to the first question of this article, the discussion so far leads to a possible

perspective for ASEM, that it is not a simple tool for some purposes, but a process of neoliberal

regime formation under bureaucratic siege, where core decisions are dominated by undemocratic

and unaccountable process. We can anticipate that ASEM will continue to accommodation

discussions on wide range of issues, superficially opening some space and presenting eventful

incidents to the public, while carefully placing its meaning of existence to the service to the

global economic regimes.

l Social dimension in ASEM?

Then, should social actors continue to push for social dimension For ASEM, social dimension

approach corresponds to the demands to include in all official discussion basic standards on

human rights, environment, public goods and cultural resources, and to promote these standards

through participation of social actors. in the official ASEM process? Will this question depend on

the possibility of accommodating it by the governmental side? Though ASEM as a neoliberal

diplomacy would not have much difficulty of accommodating social engagement to a certain

degree, as will be discussed further in the end, it is presently the political leadership in ASEM

that puts the greatest barrier to it. EUs bureaucratic and orientalist look into East Asia from the

perspective of economic miracles has effectively neglected the importance of the social

democratic principle of social dimension in market economy and the necessary participation of

social actors. In other words, EUs instrumental approach to East Asia has discouraged initiatives

from the political leadership for accommodation approach from the beginning.

At the same time, while the political leadership in ASEAN was reduced or divided by the

financial crisis of 1997-1998, a new leader like Kim Dae Jung of South Korea was also affected

by the very objectives of ASEM itself. Even though Kims strategy to foster his political support

and power base in the public was to project himself as President of Human Rights and his

government as the government of the whole nation , he put the survival of his government too

dependent on the IMF-prescribed policies, which rapidly diminished the social dimension of

human rights. In other words, Kim lost much of his edge in political leadership in international

affairs not because of his international credibility, but because of rapidly deteriorating domestic

public support for his stance on neoliberal agenda.

In short, we see the economic polices pursued by political and business elite in the two regions

significantly diminish their leadership basis in domestic level, which in turn puts their leadership

weak in interregional affairs. This is more conspicuous in ASEM because it purports to become

a comprehensive cooperation body, where comprehensive leadership is more needed if it is to go

beyond a bureaucratic approach.

l Implications to Critical Social Actors

From ASEM 3 in Seoul, there emerged a network of NGOs and social movements that began to

denounce the whole ASEM process. The main argument was that ASEM is another space or tool

serving globalisation. Though there are several other important and valuable points to consider in

this perspective, this article draws attention to the fundamental implication of these social actors

starting to de-legitimise ASEM as a whole that its time to rethink.

One important basis of rethinking ASEM, especially with the division among social actors

becoming more apparent from the Seoul ASEM, would be a mid-term assessment of the nature

of decision making process of ASEM and the effectiveness of NGO engagement so far. Whether

it is a close look into the vision of the ASEM Vision Group or into the ministerial meetings or

into the diversifying array of photogenic events and programs of the official ASEM process, one

can always realise that almost none of the proposals of NGOs has ever been taken seriously by

the official ASEM process. As far as the official reaction is concerned in the form of the

agenda-setting and the official documentary outcomes, the critical engagement of NGOs in

ASEM process has produced very little. Similar assessment is also possible in terms of social

impact of the NGO engagement so far. This is in a good contrast to the speed, extremity and

vigour with which, for example, ASEM has dealt with investment liberalisation. If we follow

how the extreme investment liberalisation measures once put in MAI were re-formulated, raised

and pushed in ASEM as the agenda of the Most Effective Measures (for FDI), we realise the

determined role played by key actors such as the European Commission in pushing narrow

agenda and surprisingly little scrutiny by national democratic procedures.

However, the official ASEM process is not dominated by neo-liberal agenda in the sense that it

necessarily excludes social dimension. Rather, its main effect lies in fostering a three-layer

environment (at national, regional, and international levels) for smooth processing of neo-liberal

agenda by what can be termed as bureaucratic instrumentalisation of inter-regional politics .

Some characteristic effects of bureaucratic instrumentalisation are to shield the official process

from democratic scrutiny under the guise of non-binding nature of ASEM agreements, to

position the core economic agenda among diverse cooperation agenda so as to justify the

discourse of comprehensive inter-regional cooperation, and to compartmentalise each agenda area

so as to control the core agenda area more effectively. The end result is more favourable policy

environment for the choice of policies as seen in the ASEM. Under bureaucratic

instrumentalisation, civil society participation and introduction of social dimension are not so

repulsive as long as the net effect is maintained.

What is the net effect of ASEM under bureaucratic instumentalisation? The rules of engagement

as shown in the case of the agreement on Most Effective Measures, the repeated emphasis on

conformity with the WTO rules, and the political nuance of non-binding nature can be best

understood if we see ASEM as follows.

It is not simply an instrument of globalisation, but rather an intermediary regime producing

favourable environments for neo-liberal objectives both upward (towards stronger and more

universal binding multilateral agreements of liberalisation) and downward (towards binding

bilateral agreements of liberalisation and easing national consensus building process). In this

perspective, ASEM is not merely an instrument, but represents an inter-regional liberal regime

cultivating consensus grounds for economic need of hegemonic power groups such as TNCs and

EU. In other words, ASEM symbolises a liberal regime formation in accordance with

neo-liberalist economic need. It is easier to realise this regime if its governance was

bureaucratically instrumentalised. This is tantamount to a formation of a neo-liberal form of

inter-regional politics congruent to globalisation.

This observation implies that the official ASEM would maintain its purposes even after

incorporating the social dimension and the balancing standards (e.g. human rights) of economic

activities such as proposed by many NGOs in their forum. As long as the net effect of ASEM

as facilitating the two-way consensus building in the two regions towards globalisation is not

altered, it is serving its founders. And the expansion of social dimension in ASEM can possibly

be accommodated as another commodity to the market-oriented market of agendas and

programmes. Allow civil society participation, and keep our decision makings intact would be

totally possible for a new way of accommodation.

This leaves us to the third question, how does this interplay of domestic and international

politics culminating to multiple consensus-building process inform the more effective roles of

critical social actors? The traditional approach such as pushing for social dimension and some

internationally recognised standards and targeting the bureaucratic siege of democracy is still valid

as a way of critical engagement in the official ASEM. However, this approach can only create

deserved effect if and only if it is combined with a more ambitious project of social actors

attempting to tackle the net effect of neo-liberal consensus building regime at all of the three

levels mentioned above. In other words, the anti-globalisation resistance of Seattle and Prague is

not a choice of resistance, but a part and parcel of the proper way of social actors in their

challenge to globalisation. In reverse, the critical engagement in ASEM process should be a part

and parcel of such resistance. Inclusion of social dimension in ASEM is not the end in itself,

but just an addition of a small terrain of challenging the bureaucratic instrumentalisation, and

therefore, a space to fight more effectively the undemocratic and illiberal formation of liberal

interregional regime.

In the way, critical social actors should pursue the net effect of building a different consensus

for inter-regional cooperation along with different principles. The terrain of challenging the net

effect of ASEM would be enlarged to favour anti-globalisation initiatives if social actors can

present an alternative to the present mosaic-style (if not disoriented in essence) paradigm of

inter-regional cooperation of the official ASEM. This will include not only totally denouncing the

economic agreements of the existing ASEM, but also focussing on integrative model of

international cooperation integrative in the sense of being sensitive to the inter-relationship of

democracy, development, and security policies. One can envisage this contrast as the bureaucratic

compartmental model of cooperation versus democracy-development-security complex model of


l Demystifying the False Grandeur

A last remark is due for the forgetting, or disappearance of the original grand scheme in ASEM.

The overall ASEM process can be viewed as a process of forgetting its original promises of

grandeur. No matter how many actually believed in such promises, the forgetting itself is a

noteworthy process. In particular, for those who seriously watch politics, this forgetting is not an

accident, but a meaningful political process.

We can trace double meanings in forgetting that appeared in ASEM process. One is about

forgetting the original grandeur discourse of ASEM project, a comprehensive, far-reaching

inter-regional cooperation, which stood on false imagery of the other regions and their success

and values. Thus, the first part of forgetting represents demystification of the false discourse of

cooperation in ASEM process by the effects of the 1997-98 economic crisis. Whether the crisis

was accidental or generative by clash of market interests, it is interesting to note that an

effective demystification of inter-state cooperation came from an outcome of economic


The other part of the meaning of forgetting is about liberal discourse of civil society

participation. Reducing the so-called civil society participation to a few passing contacts between

NGO and government representatives, the liberal discourse of participation that appeared in

ASEM official documents since 1996 was effectively demystified. The too familiar discourse of

NGO participation was demystified in ASEM by being effectively forgotten when firstly the

overall agenda-setting platform of NGOS was turned down in London in 1998 and secondly the

Social Forum proposal was turned down in Seoul in 2000. Given the existence and influence of

the Business Forum in the official ASEM process, this part of forgetting represents the familiar

dual nature of neoliberalism, liberal to corporate actors and illiberal to other actors of civil


In short, whether a failure or not, inter-regional politics surrounding ASEM gave birth to its own

demystification by way of forgetting, forgetting its myth-laden birth. And whether in reaction to

financial crisis or to an orientalist perspective, this demystification gave rise to more militant and

better coordinated popular resistance to the first-ever inter-regional arrangement between Europe

and East Asia, adding to the increasingly globalised resistance to neoliberal globalisation. And the

very rise of concerted resistance to ASEM may also be seen as a creation of incapacity of

Europe and East Asia as regional or inter-national political identities to each other. In as much

as this is a test case for the present political leadership in the two regions in acquiring wider

public consensus on their idea of international cooperation, it is a dilemma very common to the

elitist globalisation projects of today. In sum, the tension in ASEM is another manifestation of

an interesting dialectic of formation of a political being by the very modern international politics

that has existed in the negating sense. M. Dillon, Politics of Security: Towards a political

philosophy of continental thought, London: Routeledge, 1996, p.1.

Daehoon Lee (d.lee1@bradford.ac.uk)
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