Friday 08 Oct 2021 | 01:39 | SYDNEY
Friday 08 Oct 2021 | 01:39 | SYDNEY

Asia Pacific Community: The duck that didn't quack


Malcolm Cook

13 March 2009 14:42

As always, I enjoyed reading Graeme’s latest post, especially as I myself am a supporter of the 'US into the EAS' school of thought on the future of regional architecture. However, I think Graeme may be too kind, even at a stretch, regarding progress of the Asia Pacific Community idea. He notes:

Before embracing the dead duck interpretation, though, consider what — at a stretch — could be called the achievements of Australia’s effort in investigating this vision. The options have been clarified and some have been completely ruled out. This is progress, of a sort.

The two options that have been clarified – the US into the EAS and/or India into APEC – and the single option that has been ruled out  — no new regional institutions – had already been clarified and ruled out in the long-running, dense and repetitive discussions of East Asian and Asia Pacific regionalism before Prime Minister Rudd’s speech last June.

In 2007, I worked on a report for the ASEAN Secretariat looking at the future of East Asian regionalism, and in the interviews undertaken in 11 of the 16 EAS countries, these three options were all canvassed and categorised as such. If Graham’s depiction of Richard Woolcott’s journey around the region as the Prime Minister’s envoy is correct, its achievement may only have been to repeat what was already widely known.

Photo by Flickr user bullcreek, used under a Creative Commons license.