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Asia and Europe by Lay Hwee Yeo

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6 From rhetoric to reality

Introduction

Is ASEM simply an exercise in summitry, or is it an exercise in region-building? Is ASEM a forum for diplomatic niceties, or is it an institution for regime creation? ASEM has displayed fleeting images of all of the above to allow scholars of different strands to exercise their intellectual imagination and cast it in different frameworks of analysis. Where is ASEM now, and which image is the closest to reality? Realist calculations belied the idea behind ASEM. ASEM as an essentially informal intergovernmental forum was the initial outcome. Then expectations grew as several initiatives began to take shape. The adoption of the Trade Facilitation Action Plan (TFAP) and the Investment Promotion Action Plan ...

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