Asian multilateralism has been a relatively recent development. It differs from that elsewhere and reflects the history and characteristics of the region. It has been important in the growth of regional cooperation, in developing common regional interests and in the development and adherence to norms. These characteristics contributed in responding in a constructive, if limited, way to the Asian economic crisis. Nevertheless, the crisis has revealed the weaknesses of existing regional multilateral institutions and those weaknesses are often seen as raising doubts about whether those institutions can be effective in the future without major reform. Yet, although the response of the regional institutions was clearly inadequate, the region's response overall was far from negligible. Efforts to ensure regional coherence in the future by way of ASEAN, APEC and ASEAN+3 in particular are already being made to ensure greater stability in the financial sector. The region also wants to overcome its under representation in the global arena, but increased global participation, while positive, will remain supplementary to the global institutions, notably the IMF. Greater global involvement would provide, however, a more appropriate balance between regional and global contributions to future crises, since they will need to be better tailored to regional conditions and therefore depend on greater regional involvement from the start.
|The Pacific Review
|Published - 2000