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East Asia’s energy needs: The impact on security and guidelines for regional governance

Author(s): Pablo Pareja Alcaraz | Caterina García Segura

Journal: Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals
ISSN 1133-6595

Issue: 89-90;
Start page: 29;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: East Asia | energy | security | governance | international relations

The last three decades have witnessed a spectacular (and not easily sustainable) increase in the global demand for energy. This trend has a particular significance in East Asia owing to its heavy industrialisation, which is promoting intense regional growth, on top of the already delicate balance of security in the region and the traditional refusal by the region’s states to delegate power and management to supranational bodies. The aim of this article is to analyse the impact of East Asia’s energy needs on security and on the instruments of order and governance that have been developed in the region up until the present time. Thus, the article is divided into two parts; the first analyses East Asia’s energy programme and its most significant features: 1) a high dependence on oil imports from other regions, especially the Middle East; 2) a persistence of high dependency on pollutant fossil fuels; and 3) a high degree of energy insecurity. Meanwhile, the second part assesses the impact of energy on regional relations in different areas of security and guidelines for regional government: 1) the securitisation of energy and of the environment; 2) the reactivation of certain maritime conflicts; 3) the transformation of certain threats, and conventional and non-conventional challenges to regional security; 4) the rise of non-state actors (mainly environmental businesses and NGOs) in East Asia’s international relations; 5) the maintaining of bilateralism and the promotion of multilateral initiatives; and 6) the emergence of new extra-regional geopolitical links and balances.
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