The rise of China has fuelled the hopes and kindled the insecurities of many of its neighbours and counterparts, across the Eurasian landmass. At the same time, China’s regional assertiveness, the challenge posed by distorted market practices and the sirens of dirigisme, global political involution, and the advent of a more isolationist, if not outright disruptive and protectionist, United States posture have translated into repeated -both exogenous and endogenous- blows to the international liberal order. Japan and the European Union’s responses to such dire international challenges offer a unique window into the complex interplay and links among economic, political, and security dynamics of the Indo-Pacific region, with important implications for European actors.
In the face of these challenges, we intend to hold an event that raises awareness of contemporary Japanese and East Asian security, political and economic dynamics, while exploring avenues for cooperation between Japan and the EU, as well as Japan and NATO. Both partnerships ought to be considered only natural, considering our shared values, and our common stakes in an international liberal order, premised on multilateralism and an open world economy. Yet, the NATO-Japan relationship and the recent EU-Japan Strategic and Economic Partnership Agreements brim with untapped potential for more fruitful cooperation in defence of the global commons.
The conference at the European University Institute’s Robert Schuman Centre, where an EU-Asia Programme has been inaugurated in January 2021, will explore the EU and Japan’s international relations in an age of great power competition, especially their position amidst US-China rivalry and the engagement with economic statecraft and strategic communications. This conference and the EU-Asia Programme will position the EUI as a European hub for research on contemporary Asian politics and economics. The event – focused on EU-Asia geo-economics and (dis)information challenges – will include relevant Europe & Asia experts from our network, and members of the EUI academic community.