Sample Argumentative Essay Paper on Asia-Pacific

Can ASEAN institutions provide an effective basis for regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific?

Since the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967, the organization has continued to approach matters of regional cooperation and security in a comprehensive manner (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 14). For the countries in the Asian a Pacific, security and regional corporation often encompasses wide array of factors in the social, political, cultural, economic, and military fronts. The domestic problems arising from these factors are often perceived to be potential destabilizes of the nation member states in relation to regional peace and integration. These threats have made ASEAN to distinguish regional security threats as traditional and non-traditional problems. It is important to note that until recently, ASEAN member states tended to perceive non-traditional security problems as domestic challenges from member states that only needed national solutions (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 16). The growing challenges associated with traditional security problems has hoverer compelled ASEAN to recognize then essence of interstate corporations in handling such problems.

This led to development of structures essential in resolving regional security challenges at the national and regional levels.  The development of these structures has been facilitated by the generation of two interrelated perspectives of solving regional security threats. The first approach to the development of these solutions was focused on non-traditional security challenges. It was the responsibility of the nation states to resolve such challenges through the generation of appropriate measures (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 19). The second strategy developed by ASEAN was to ensure that in the process of the individual’s states resolving the non-traditional security challenges, ASEAN had the responsibility of uniting member states towards the development of regional cooperation as a strategy of creating a peaceful external environment to minimize the possibility of nation state being distracted from the execution of domestic priorities (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 19). It is possible to argue that the ability of ASEAN to facilitate the development of domestic and regional security measures has been essential in building regional cooperation (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 19). This has through the empowerment of nation states to realize an overall national development by overcoming internal threats will translate into national resilience considering that regional resilience will result from the chain derived from the strength of the constituent parts.

Since the development of ASEAN, economic integration among the member states and the other regional based was one of the main objectives of the organisation. However, the movement towards this integration has been faced by numerous challenges. The countries forming ASEAN have, on numerous occasions being engaged in competitive economic engagements rather than complementary integration (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 22). In addition, the market orientations of this region had been geared towards bilateral trade agreements with countries such as Japan, US and the countries forming the European Union. Earlier attempts of developing trade agreements to foster cooperation within the region often took an industrial planning approach, which was largely symbolic and relatively complex to institutionalize (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 22).

Despite the existing challenges in economic integration, in 1992 the countries in ASEAN formed the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTRA) with the objective of eliminating trade barriers and barrier to investment among member countries (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 22). This was also aimed at improving on the attractive nature of the ASEAN countries to foreign investments. There was meaningful progress that was realized through the reduction of trade barriers. AFTA however failed in facilitating the development of comprehensive and liberal trade. This was largely because ASEAN members failed to agree on the means of reducing their tariffs. Economic integration is often considered important in the development of regional cooperation among different countries. However, throughout the 21st century ASEAN has been engaging its member countries on the possible initiatives for the realization of effective economic integration programs. This saw the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) that had the objective of the development of an integrated market for its member states (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 24). This was to be championed by the elimination of the remaining inter-ASEAN tariffs, the creation of an effective intellectual property and full liberalization of trade in services. There are still many difficulties in the realization of the tenets of AEC. The most outstanding challenge is how the ASEAN countries can develop common external tariffs. Inasmuch as there have been attempts to reduce the levels of tariffs among member states, on-tariff barriers are also major obstacles to the integration of these economies (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 24).

Any attempt by the ASEAN to ensure regional integration among the Asian Pacific states must be accompanied by the realization of political security within the region. Parallel to its pursuit of economic integration, has been in the process of bolstering its role and sense of direction as a technique of advancing regional security. However, ASEAN member states have continued to face security related challenges, which include inter-state disputes and dictatorial regimes in states such as Myanmar among other challenges. As a way of demonstration gist power in Southeast Asia, SEAN in 2003 began developing the concept of ASEAN Security Community (ASC), which was in 2007 called ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC) (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 34). These initiatives were directed towards the creation of a secure environment to enhance the prospects of internal stability while at the same time ensuring economic progress.

ASEAN member states have continued with their pursuit of numerous strategies directed towards the realization of political security within the region. As a way of enhancing security, individual member states have continued to advance their cooperation through bilateral and multilateral relations (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 25). These platforms have enabled improved cooperation across the borders to increase interaction through numerous attempts of enhancing security within the region especially on matters related to counter terrorism. Inasmuch as cooperation is considered as a necessity in any attempt of realizing political security within the region, there is evidence that ASEAN member states are increasingly becoming reluctant in their commitment to that ratification of international conventions and protocols that are aimed at combating terrorism (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 25). There is an increase in the attempt of ensuring the development of shared identity among ASEAN member states. This is based on the realization that proper cooperation on the economic, political and security matters are only realizable through the development of a shared sense of identity across borders of the member states (Dent & Jörn 2012, p. 26).

In conclusion, since the establishment of ASEAN in 1967, the organization has had a substantial presence in Southeast Asia. Its continuous presence on the international platform has enabled ASEA to engage with major external powers. Despite this presence, ASEAN faces identity and recognition problems internationally considering the challenge of maintaining its utility and credibility. The ongoing economic challenge in other countries within the ASEAN region has enabled the organization to deepen its cooperation on the economic security and socio-cultural aspects. This means that ASEAN through its institutions can facilitate proper cooperation within the region.

Does the rise of China pose a threat to the security of other states in the Asia-Pacific? Discuss with reference to two states that we have focused on this trimester

One of the most significant aspects in East Asia in last decade is the rise of China as an economic and political power China has been seeking to improve its with countries within Asia while at the same time struggling to ensure its dominance within the region. This has been facilitated by exchange visits to countries within East Asia and the signing of substantive agreements such as those of trade and security cooperation, which are focussed towards the realization of a political outcome (Li 2008, p. 15). In addition, such initiatives are aimed at reassuring countries within Asia of the peaceful and nonthreatening intentions of China. One of the main causes of the rise of China within Asia was the American preoccupation on terrorism within the Middle East and long economic recession that was affecting Japan’s economy (Li 2008, p. 17). China took advantage of these challenges to create economic and political cooperation with neighbouring countries while at the same time pushing policies directed towards the denial of long-standing notion of the existence of China as a threat to the development of other economies. This was evident in the relationship between China and the ASEAN member states (Li 2008, p. 17).

Is China a threat?

When accessing the security threats that are associated with China, it is important to also assess the country based on its capabilities and intentions. When arguing from the perspective of capability one can assert that China poses a limited threat currently however the continuous development of Chinese military and active programs directed towards the acquisition of arms are gradually transforming the country’s military capability. When assessed from the perspective of intentions one can argue that strategic culture of the Chinese it is an important consideration there are complications rising from the nature of Chinese strategic culture especially when assessed from realist of idealist perspective (Li 2008, p. 45). Conventionally, it is believed that the approach of the Chinese on matters of international affairs is largely defined by the Confucian heritage. This heritage devalues the military while at the same time abjuring the use of force. However, there are also approaches, which argue that the approach of the Chinese government towards international politics, takes up a realistic approach. This view asserts that the use of armed forces is an essential element of national power. This explains why the People’s Republic of China has been using considerable amount of force in the last five decades (Li 2008, p. 48).

Despite the continuous development of Chinese military, the country does not pose any security threat but only poses proliferation challenges on a regional scale. As the economy develops, it continues to rely on oil and there is need to protect the supply of oil from other countries within the Middle East (Li 2008, p. 34). With the exception of the South China Sea, China does not directly threaten its neighbours but only envisions maintaining a patron client relationship that is similar to the imperial China’s tributary system with numerous states such as North Korea and Myanmar (Li 2008, p. 27).

Asian great powers and China

India and Japan are two of the great Asian powers that fringe China. India for instance appears to be concerned with the supposed threat that China presents. There are arguments of asymmetry which assert that India Views China as an immediate and long-term threat while China perceives India as a minute and relatively insignificant threat to the growth of its economy. Chinese efforts, in the view of India to form economic ties with countries such as Nepal, Bhutan and Burma is considered an infringement of India’s security zone while China is satisfied with the status quo considering that this is one way through which it is improving on its economic gains, India considers this as a strategy by China to will over its economic allies (Li 2008, p. 47). The congress party in India is a school of thought, which holds China in fear. This fear is a result of India’s defeat in the 1962 border war against China (Li 2008, p. 47). This school of thought seeks to minimize any intentions that could antagonize its relationship with China for the fear of a possible war. There is also a school of thought within India that seeks to progress pragmatic and strategic attitude towards China.  This school of thought puts much focus on the role of the current government in India and the adherence to the politics of balance of power and the recognition of the importance of keeping a continuous dialogue with China. This school o thought in India is driven by the desire to emulate the reforms in China especially those directed towards rapid economic growth rates (Li 2008, p. 49).

The desire to maintain dominance within the East Asian region forms the point of conflict between Japan and China. Japan by embracing imperialistic approaches towards economic growth is often challenge by Chinese conservative growth and its alignment with the Russians (Li 2008, p. 59). The development of Chinese economy and the threat it poses to the powers such as the United States, which is an ally to Japan, also forms the basis of existing distrust between the two countries. It is important to note that throughout history Japan and China have shared conflicting relationships on military aspects. This s especially true considering the obsession of Beijing with the effects of the past relationship between the two countries where China constantly reminds Japan of its military presence and wartime violence to the people of China (Li 2008, p. 62).  The perceived military strength and the purchase of military arms by the Chinese government have necessitated the need for Japan to acquire more weapons as a way of responding to potential threats that are posed by Japan (Li 2008, p. 64).

In conclusion, China just like any other country around the world is in the process of using available resources in the development of its economy. However, these developments have been considered as potential threats by the neighbouring countries and other countries, such as the US, on the international platform. Economic development is often accompanied by an enhancement in security. However, the decision by China to develop its military and purchase weapons from China has been considered by India and Japan as a threat to regional security. India, has however, decided to engage in multiple dialogues with China as a way of fostering better economic relationships. Japan’s enmity with Japans continues to flourish due to the desire by both countries to establish dominance within Asia and their ideological differences.









Dent, C, M., and Jörn, D., 2012. The Asia-Pacific, regionalism and the global

system. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Li, R., 2008. A Rising China and Security in East Asia: Identity Construction and Security

Discourse. 270 Madison Ave, New York