From Inter-Regionalism to Trans-Regionalism? The Future of ASEM

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At the fundamental level, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) framework represents an endeavour by the European Union and a group of East Asian states to forge closer inter-regional relations between them. This paper examines the global and tripolar contexts in which ASEM emerged, and its position in the new post-Cold War architecture of international relations. It more specifically considers the prime motivating factors of both the EU and East Asia for initially promoting the ASEM idea. The main purposes, structures, processes and achievements of ASEM inter-regional diplomacy are then studied. Regarding the latter, it is argued that ASEM's achievements can be broadly judged by the extent it has fostered micro-networking and macro-networking linkages between both regions. Micro-networking primarily relates to ASEM's various socialisation processes and functions on which wider macro-networking ties between the peoples of Europe and East Asia can be further built. However, Eurasian links are still relatively under-developed in comparison to their transpacific and transatlantic counterparts. As such, ASEM faces many challenges ahead along the long path to establishing East Asia – EU trans-regionalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-236
Number of pages14
JournalAsia Europe Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2003


  • Regionalism
  • Regionalisation
  • ASEM
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Inter-regionalism


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