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IR Working Paper 2008/6 (PDF, 134KB)
Stuart Harris, ‘Institutionalising Northeast Asia: The Energy Market’, IR Working Paper 2008/6, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Affairs, The Australian National University, December 2008.
Interest in more comprehensive institutional arrangements for Northeast Asia have been given a fillip by the suggestions emerging from the Six Party Talks on North Korea’s nuclear program. The following paper looks at regional interactions on energy and related policies. It asks whether the regional actors see conflicts emerging within the region in their individual attempts to solve their energy security concerns, or whether they envisage cooperative ways for resolving such problems. In the light of this, it asks whether there could be a functionalist basis arising from energy cooperation for a wider process of community-building in Northeast Asia.
It concludes that within the region, multilateral institutional mechanisms face major political, economic and technical problems. On most energy issues, the regional economies are likely to continue to look mainly to links with institutions outside the region. There are areas in which regional cooperation would be beneficial, yet the opportunities available from such cooperation will face major obstacles in the absence of institutionalised cooperation processes in the broader economic and security fields.