Document Type

Book Chapter


Final Published Version

Publication Title

The Future of East Asia, Edited by Peter Hayes and Chung-In Moon, Springer (Asia Today Series)

Publication Date

Spring 2018


If analyses of community-building efforts in Northeast Asia are fixated on the level of the nation-state and the central government, then one fails to capture the complex, transnational integration dynamics that are now vigorously at work in the region, contends Seung-Youn Oh in this chapter. Non-state Actors—less constrained than national authorities by political tensions and historical legacies—are not only generating a new capacity for regional community-building, they are also strengthening existing forms of regional cooperation.

Oh’s chapter explores how non-state actors in Northeast Asia in both individual countries and at the regional level serve as transnational constituencies and create regional networks to solve shared problems. Oh pays special attention to the networks and coalitions of non-state actors in China, Japan, and South Korea to assess the opportunities and challenges they face in overcoming the political and historical tensions in one of the least institutionalized regions in the world.

Oh argues that issue-based and cross-border civil society collaboration has generated a new capacity for strengthening regional cooperation. In the face of pressing domestic developmental challenges in issue areas such as energy insecurity and environmental degradation, Oh examines how non-state actors are relevant to building a regional framework in Northeast Asia as both a normative and rational endeavor.