The Political Implications of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area The China-ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) Free Trade Area (CAFTA), which came into force in 2010, can be seen as part of a Chinese strategy aimed at strengthening Beijing’s regional and global influence. The asymmetry of power between a great power and many small and middle rank powers is an advantage to China, which can exploit national, economic and political differences to pursue its own foreign policy objectives. In fact, ASEAN has never become a supranational organization like the European Union, and there is the real danger that the area may fall under a Chinese version of the “Monroe Doctrine”. However, China’s attempt to rebuild historical links and hierarchies in South-East Asia will have to deal with the security environment provided in Asia by the United States. However, given the complex web of production networks in the area, implementing strategies against Washington is not in China’s interest. By recalling the recent history of China-ASEAN relations, and by showing how the CAFTA only reinforces present trends of de facto economic integration in Asia, this article underlines how China’s growing influence in the region makes it urgent for ASEAN to reconsider its structure. With their loyalty divided between the new economic benefits offered by China’s involvement in the political economy of East Asia and new fears caused by China’s rise, the ASEAN countries need to choose between one of two options – either to deepen their integration or to assign their partnership with the United States the task of balancing Beijing’s influence. The CAFTA offers economic benefits and political dividends to both parties, and their respective ability to reap these gains will determine China’s positioning in East Asia. ASEAN as a regional organization is at a crossroads, and unresolved tensions among its member states make it likely that current patterns of regionalization without regionalism will continue in the future.
|Titolo tradotto del contributo||[Autom. eng. transl.] The political implications of the China-ASEAN free trade area|
|Numero di pagine||23|
|Rivista||LA COMUNITÀ INTERNAZIONALE|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Pubblicato - 2011|