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College of the Holy Cross

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy


East and Southeast Asia have benefited greatly from China’s growth and are gaining significantly more economic and political power in comparison to the West. The growing interdependence in this region has led to the continuing economic integration of the ASEAN Plus Three countries. The research paper analyzes the geopolitical factors that impact this integration, such as historical tension, regional security conflicts, social, cultural and economic differences, as well as economic rivalries. In addition, the strategic agendas of the main actors, including the U.S., are analyzed to provide a comprehensive argument concerning the impact these geopolitical factors will have on future economic integration. The paper concludes that the pragmatism that the ASEAN Plus Three countries have shown to separate political and economic issues will allow for further extensive economic integration to continue, but this will be limited by social and cultural factors, such as countries’ refusal to cede any sovereignty. The best way forward for economic integration lies in the creation of an ASEAN Plus Three Free Trade Agreement and an expansion of current institutions.


Economic Policy | Growth and Development | International Business | International Economics | International Relations


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