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2 The Discourse of Openness: Organizational Emergent Properties

2 The Discourse of Openness: Organizational Emergent Properties

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THE ROLE OF DISCOURSE IN INSTITUTIONAL EMERGENCE IN EAST ASIA



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the actualizing of the potential powers of these institutions. After introducing the nodal discourse of openness in the first section, I then look at

how it figures in the respective design elements individually. This begins

with membership issues, and then follows on with the scope of issues covered by the institutions, centralization, and control mechanisms—before

concluding with the institutions’ degree of flexibility to react to unanticipated circumstances.

6.2.1



The Nodal Discourse of Openness



With a particular focus, in terms of institutional design, on the regional

institutions’ organizational emergent properties, the interdiscursive analysis of texts shows that one specific discourse associated with APT and

the EAS being open, inclusive, and transparent regional institutions commands a central position. Due to its centrality and the ability to subsume

a great many other organizational discourses, I refer to this discourse of

openness as a nodal one. It figures in the design elements, organization,

procedures, and processes of both regional institutions studied here.

The discourse of openness starts to appear more prominently as more

concrete steps and proposals vis-à-vis community building emerge over

time. It catches one’s eye more easily, for example, in APT’s second Joint

Statement on East Asian Cooperation in 2007, wherein member states

agreed that “Driven by converging interests, aspirations and commitment

to peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity, the prospects for a resilient, open, innovative and competitive East Asia are bright” (APT 2007b,

expressions marking the nodal discourse are again emphasized in italics

here and in the following). In the same statement, regional leaders “reiterate that East Asian integration is an open, transparent, inclusive, and

forward-looking process for mutual benefits and support internationally

shared values to achieve peace, stability, democracy and prosperity in the

region” (APT 2007b).

The connection of openness with transparency and inclusiveness is

made here for the first time, which in following texts is used as a common

triad. What seems misleading is the chosen verb “reiterate,” given that the

triad—as well as the general discourse of openness—has not been stressed

in any of the official statements before. This could be a sign that internal

institutional discussions have already centered on this discourse for quite

some time. In terms of semantic relations, the discourse of openness is



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marked with a purpose relation in the above example in that it legitimizes

the open process of integration with the aspiration of achieving peace,

stability, and prosperity in the region. Thus, it textures the nodal discourse

with a common aim/goal one.

Such texturing is very common; it articulates the long-term project

of building an East Asian community as a process guided by openness

and inclusiveness. This is illustrated by the following examples (as before,

expressions relevant in analytical terms are emphasized in italics):

China holds the view that regional economic integration should follow the

principles of openness, inclusiveness and transparency (MoFAPRC 2013).

Japan’s new proposal to reinvigorate the discussion towards building,

in the long run, an East Asian community based on the principle of openness,

transparency and inclusiveness and functional cooperation (EAS 2009a).



As we can see, China textures the ambition of regional economic integration with the discourse of openness; Japan, meanwhile, combines the

latter with the nodal aim/goal discourse of community building. In this

context, it seems that the discourse of openness was originally introduced

by Japan in its pursuing of the strategy of open and inclusive regional

cooperation with regard to the building of an East Asia Summit. In an

overview and preliminary evaluation of the first EAS and other connected

meetings, Japan furthermore notes that “The fact that (1) principles which

Japan attaches importance to such as openness, transparency and inclusiveness as well as strengthening universally recognized values were included

in the EAS Declaration,…is deemed to contribute to the development of

the EAS in the future” (MoFAJ 2005d).

In discussing the future direction of the EAS, member states continue

to make use of the nodal discourse of openness. This they do by stressing the importance of building confidence among the participants and

encouraging “an open and continuing exchange of views on issues of strategic importance to the region” (EAS 2007b). They also express their

“conviction that the EAS should remain outward looking,” as well as

underscoring “the value of open and spontaneous Leaders-led discussions on

strategic issues of peace and stability in our region and the world” (EAS

2007b). In this regard, the discourse of openness figures most notably in

the organizational emergent properties associated with issues of flexibility.

It captures the EAS’s ability to remain available to new developments and



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231



possibilities, as is apparent in the following chairman’s statement written

after an EAS’s foreign minister’s informal consultation:

They reaffirmed the nature of the EAS as a Leaders-led forum and its founding principles of openness, transparency and inclusiveness, which enable it to

respond promptly to any emerging challenges and adjust appropriately to the

changing regional and international landscape. They noted the continuous

support for Russia’s participation in the EAS in the future (EAS 2009b).



Here, we find an elaborative relation to explain why leaders should hold

on to the principle of openness (“which (ELABORATION) enable it to

respond promptly to any emerging challenges”). Notice how it is at the

same time a means of legitimizing the leaders’ position on being able to

expand membership, thereby justifying their support for Russia’s interest

in joining the EAS. Openness, as it is argued, enables the region to directly

respond or adjust to upcoming problems and challenges.

Interestingly, among individual member states, China stresses openness quite often as a term, despite being an advocate of a more exclusive regional cooperation. As already outlined above, at the 8th EAS, the

Premier of the State Council of China, Li Keqiang, mentions in his remarks

that “China holds the view that regional economic integration should follow the principles of openness, inclusiveness and transparency” and that the

members should “adhere to the nature of the EAS as a leaders-led strategic forum…, uphold openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation”

(MoFAPRC 2013). At the same time, China strategically connects the

discourse of openness to the primacy of the 10+3 process, as the main

channel for cooperation in the region. This it does, for example, by mentioning that “[w]hile conducting 10+3 cooperation, we need to have global

vision, be open-minded, continue to keep the openness of East Asian cooperation and vigorously promote the interaction between 10+3 cooperation

and other cooperation mechanisms in the region” (MoFAPRC 2005).

India also adopts this discourse of openness. This is evident, for example, in the country stating that “[w]e believe that in a step by step process,

at a pace comfortable to all, this forum can make a meaningful contribution to building open and transparent security architecture in the AsiaPacific region” (PMoI 2010). This alignment was also made apparent by

India proposing that the EAS process should conform to the principles

of the body’s initial declaration, “which called for the EAS to be an open,

inclusive, transparent and outward looking forum” (PMoI 2009).



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6.2.2



Organizational Emergent Properties: The “Asian Way”



After the insight into how the nodal discourse of openness is articulated

and structured offered in the section above, I will now focus on how it

figures in the respective organizational emergent properties of the two

regional institutions of interest in terms of the different elements of their

respective institutional designs. East Asian institutions are often said to be

characterized by a particular “Asian way” of doing things, one that stresses

informal procedures, decision-making procedures based on consensus,

and a rather open and flexible attitude toward change and transformation

(e.g. Kahler 2013. The following analysis also illuminates whether, and if

so how, this shows up in institutional discourse, starting with the issue of

membership. This is followed by looking at the scope of issues covered by

APT and the EAS, centralization and control mechanisms, and the institutions’ flexibility to react to emerging challenges and problems.

6.2.2.1 Membership: Exclusively East Asian Versus Inclusively

Asia-Pacific

A major issue in institutional design is membership, as it is this that paves the

way for the format and reach of regional cooperation in the first place. APT

and the EAS are in this regard interesting cases: The first is a regional institution with an exclusive East Asian membership, while the second developed

from attempts to deepen such East Asian cooperation by creating a broader

membership base that includes Asia-Pacific. Membership as an organizational emergent property is thus reflective of potential competing strategies

among the concerned actors and is one side of hegemonic struggle.

In terms of membership, the uniqueness of APT is in that it was the first

regional institution in East Asia with exclusively East Asian parameters,

including therein China, Japan, and South Korea alongside the ASEAN

member states. The leaders of those countries decided at the 6th ASEAN

Summit in Hanoi in 1998 that it would be important to hold regular

meetings among themselves. Furthermore, a year later, they agreed in

their first Joint Statement on East Asian Cooperation “to enhance this

dialogue process and strengthen cooperation with a view to advancing

East Asian collaboration in priority areas of shared interest and concern”

(APT 1999).

In this statement, there are also some allusions to membership criteria

in terms of the members’ commitment to sustain their mutual relations “in

accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, the Five



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Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation

in Southeast Asia, and the universally recognized principles of international

law” (APT 1999). Additionally, reference is made to the ongoing efforts

of the EAVG that was assigned to developing a vision for deepening East

Asian cooperation. The report of the EAVG from 2001 made the recommendation to establish an East Asian Summit, which was positively received

by APT members—however, it was heavily debated in terms of potential

membership.

As outlined previously, China and Japan were the major actors pursuing opposing strategies—with the former promoting exclusive East Asian

membership, the latter a broader membership base of which the wider

Asia-Pacific region should form a part (see Sects. 6.1 and 6.3). Out of this

struggle, Japan’s strategy proved to be more successful in that, although

it pursued broader community building, it built on the East Asia region

discourse. In the end, the EAS was established as a separate institution with

a wider membership including India, Australia, and New Zealand. In the

Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the EAS, it is stated that “Participation in the

East Asia Summit will be based on the criteria for participation established

by ASEAN” (EAS 2005b). These criteria are further outlined in the following general information on the EAS provided by Japan (expressions relevant in analytical terms are marked as previously for illustration purposes):

(a) In the wake of the ASEAN and ASEAN+3 Ministerial Meetings which

were held respectively in Cebu in April and in Kyoto in May 2005, the

ASEAN side decided on three conditions for participation in the first EAS

as follows: The country should (1) be a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation

in Southeast Asia (TAC) member or have the will to become a member,

(2) be a complete ASEAN Dialogue Partner, and (3) have substantive

relations with ASEAN.

(b) At the ASEAN+3 Ministerial Meeting held in Laos at the end of July

this year, it was formally decided that Australia, India and New Zealand,

which do not belong to ASEAN+3, would take part in the EAS (MoFAJ

2005b).



According to this text passage, potential members should be or become

a TAC member, be an ASEAN dialogue partner, and have substantive

relations with ASEAN. These stipulations underline ASEAN’s centrality in

institution-building processes in the region (see also 6.3). India, Australia,

and New Zealand met these criteria and their participation was especially

welcomed and backed by those APT members who were in favor of a



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broader EAS. In a press conference following the first EAS, Japan’s then

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, for example, mentions that “[t]he fact

that this meeting was held, I believe, would play a very important role in

the future community building in this region” (MoFAJ 2005c).

Here, Japan makes an implicit evaluative statement by assuming the

desirability of a broader EAS in terms of it being “very important” for

community building in the region. This it does by texturing the issue of

broader membership with the nodal discourse of community building. In

the same way, Japan supports further expanding the EAS’s membership by

stating that “In order to promote open regional cooperation, it is important

to include Australia, New Zealand and India, and to further involve the

United States and other countries in a positive way in such cooperation”

(MoFAJ 2005a). By reweaving relations with the discourse of openness,

as in this example, Japan implies that including further countries such as

the USA is desirable.

In December 2010, the EAS officially confirmed the membership of

the USA and Russia. Interestingly, in the chairman’s statement of the first

EAS five years before, member states already welcomed Russia’s interest

in participating in the regional institution and “agreed to consider its participation in future East Asia Summits based on the criteria established by

ASEAN” (EAS 2005a). At an informal meeting in 2010, the EAS’s foreign

ministers discussed the interest of Russia and the USA in joining the EAS

and supported the ASEAN’s decision that each “ASEAN Foreign Minister

would recommend to ASEAN Leaders at the 17th ASEAN Summit…

to formally make the decision to invite the Russian Federation and the

United States to join the EAS with appropriate Arrangements and timing”

(EAS 2010). The latter should be based on promoting the existing EAS

agenda and priorities. Notice again the emphasis on ASEAN’s role in the

process, as also stressed at the 5th EAS by the then Prime Minister of

India, Manmohan Singh. He welcomed the entry of the USA and Russia

as participants, mentioning that the EAS “will benefit from their experience while remaining an ASEAN-led process” (PMoI 2010).

As already shown in the case of Japan’s strategy above, the issue of

membership is commonly textured with various other discourses. This

is true primarily with the nodal discourse of openness, as the following

examples highlight:

The Foreign Ministers discussed the Future Direction of the EAS and…

reaffirmed the nature of the EAS as a Leaders-led forum and its founding principles of openness, transparency and inclusiveness, which enable it to



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235



respond promptly to any emerging challenges and adjust appropriately to the

changing regional and international landscape. They noted the continuous

support for Russia’s participation in the EAS in the future (EAS 2009b).

The Ministers welcomed the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation,

H.  E. Sergey V.  Lavrov, and the Secretary of State of the United States

of America, H. E. Hillary R. Clinton, in their first official participation in

EAS.  The Ministers expressed their views that with the enlarged participation, the EAS continues to be an important component of the evolving

regional architecture, and can further contribute to the maintenance and

promotion of a stable, peaceful and prosperous region (EAS 2011a).

Third, East Asian cooperation should remain open and inclusive. China

welcomes the participation of Russia and the United States in the EAS and

hopes that the enlarged EAS will play a more effective role as a strategic

forum and contribute more to peace, stability and prosperity in East Asia

(MoFAPRC 2011).



As we can see in the first text passage, the issue of possible membership expansion is textured with the discourse of openness. This is done by

setting up a relation of equivalence between the EAS’s “founding principles of openness, transparency and inclusiveness” and “the continuous

support for Russia’s participation in the EAS in the future.” In addition,

the discourse of openness is combined with a challenge/problem one, as

demarcated by an elaborative relation: “its founding principles of openness, transparency and inclusiveness, which (ELABORATIVE) enable it

to respond promptly to any emerging challenges.” The second example

shows how the theme of enlarged EAS participation is textured with

prominent aim/goal discourses by using additive relations: “…an important component of the evolving regional architecture, and (ADDITIVE)…

promotion of a stable, peaceful and prosperous region.” These amount

together to the nodal discourse of community building. Notice also in the

third text passage how China officially promotes the discourse of openness

(“East Asian cooperation should remain open and inclusive”) and welcomes the participation of Russia and the USA, despite its favoring of the

more exclusive East Asian framework. China hence strategically combines

these discourses with the aim/goal one associated with peace/stability

(“the enlarged EAS will…contribute more to peace, stability and prosperity in East Asia”).

As these examples show, the discourse of openness figures in the organizational emergent property of membership and, especially in case of the

EAS, functions as a mechanism in the potential actualization of the institution’s power to govern the membership expansion initiative.



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6.2.2.2 Scope of Issues: Financial Focus and a Variety of Policy Areas

In their first Joint Statement on East Asian Cooperation, APT members

agreed to deepen cooperative processes in the “economic and social fields”

as well as in “political and other fields.” The first included in detail economic cooperation, monetary and financial cooperation, social and human

resources development, scientific and technical development, cooperation

in the cultural and information area, and cooperation on development.

The latter, meanwhile, comprised cooperation in the political-security

arena, and in that of transnational issues (APT 1999).

As this shows, the scope of issues covered by APT is rather broad. The

same applies to the EAS, as detected during the coding process. The main

policy areas that both APT and the EAS are concerned with were identified as including cultural, economic, environmental, financial, political,

and social ones. Queries of the occurrences of these codes show that while

APT is mainly concerned with economic issues (code occurrence 75), followed second by financial ones (45), prevalent topics of debate in the

EAS are rather social (92) and economic (80) in nature. Cultural issues

are least discussed in both forums (APT 15, EAS 10). On the one hand,

these results are reflective of the rather atypical focus within APT in the

early years of regional cooperation on financial policies (with successful

mechanisms established such as the CMI and the CMIM). On the other,

they mirror the EAS’s self-perception as a leaders-led forum that focuses

on broader issues—such as social matters in the region. Notice also with

regard to the latter that when looking at the word frequencies in comparison (see Table 6.2), the EAS includes references to “international” issues

much more frequently than does APT.

In terms of rhetorical and argumentative structure, the scope of issues

covered by the regional institutions are commonly textured with either

particular aims/goal or challenge/problem discourses (or both). For

example, APT members stated at their 14th Summit that they “encouraged deepening political and security cooperation as (REASON) the

maintenance and enhancement of peace and stability are indispensable

conditions for development in the region” (APT 2011), thereby texturing relations of equivalence between agreed political issues (“the deepening of political and security cooperation”) and the stability/peace

discourse (“the maintenance and enhancement of peace and stability”).

Notice also how the agreed upon political issues are legitimized by the

use of a causal relation, in the form specifically of a reason relation. Such

discourses are combined in multiple ways, as is also indicated by the

results of a co-occurrence query of the codes associated with aim/goal



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237



Table 6.4 Code co-occurrences: scope and aims/challenges

Codes



Scope

Cultural



Economic



Financial



Political



Social



Aims

Community

Cooperation

Coordination

Integration

Peace/stability



2

4

0

0

0



10

70

8

44

8



2

33

5

3

1



1

26

1

1

33



6

55

4

2

0



Challenges

Economic

Environmental

Globalization

Interdependence

Terrorism



1

1

0

0

0



11

10

2

1

0



4

2

0

0

0



2

6

0

0

8



3

11

0

0

3



and challenge/problem discourses. This was also done for the codes

relating to the scope of issues covered (see Table 6.4).

As the results show  (significant figures in bold), the different policy

areas covered by the regional institutions are most frequently textured with

the aim/goal cooperation discourse—being headed by economic issues

(70) and social issues (55). Discourses of aims and challenges considered

together are most commonly combined with economic issues. There are

also quite a few “pairs” to be expected: Political issues are likely to be

textured with the peace/stability discourse (33), the challenge of terrorism is an issue of political concern (8), while environmental challenges are

presumably considered in social debates (11).

The texturing of different discourses in multiple ways is most commonly to be found in the argumentative structure that concerns economic

issues, as illustrated in the following example:

We noted that despite the downside risks in the global financial and economic crisis, the East Asian economies were among the first to recover, and

had become one of the key drivers of the global economic recovery. In this

regard, we reiterated our commitment to promote economic growth that is

strong, sustainable, and balanced. We highlighted the importance for East

Asia countries to accelerate regional integration as a way to fuel the internal

growth engine and to promote economic development of the region in a sustainable and healthy way (APT 2011).



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First, through a contrastive paratactic relation, a relation of difference

is textured between a challenge/problem discourse (“global financial

and economic crisis”) and a recovery—or more general success—one

(Asian economies as the “key drivers of the global economic recovery”).

Second, there are additive paratactic relations that texture relations of

equivalence, for example, between elements of economic scope (“promote economic growth” or “promote economic development”) and

aim/goal discourses of integration (“accelerate regional integration”).

Next to texturing through additive and contrastive paratactic constructions, there is also texturing through collocations—such as “economic

growth,” “regional integration,” or “economic development.” In addition, there is a further texturing therein through additive paratactic

structure (“promote economic growth that is strong, sustainable, and

balanced”)—whereby three different growth discourses are related to

each other (see Fairclough 2010, 275–279). This text passage also shows

how the crisis theme is recontextualized on a positive note with regard

to the outstanding performance of Asian economies (“were among

the first to recover”). Through this a new hegemonic discourse of the

Asian countries as the “key drivers of the global economic recovery” is

expected to emerge.

The nodal discourse of openness is also a central theme in the context

of the policy areas of interest. For example, at the 5th EAS, Manmohan

Singh remarked that “in a step by step process, at a pace comfortable to

all, this forum can make a meaningful contribution to building open and

transparent security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region” (PMoI 2010).

The political issue of security is here strategically textured with the discourse of openness. Economic issues are also commonly textured with this

nodal discourse, as the following two text passages show:

We must learn lessons from the global economic crisis. One of these is the

need to ensure coordination in our growth policies. The other is to keep the

real economy strong and sound. We agree with Japan that greater emphasis has to be laid on growth of domestic demand. And the third is to keep

the flows of trade, technology and investment open, orderly and predictable

(PMoI 2009).

China holds the view that regional economic integration should follow

the principles of openness, inclusiveness and transparency. There can also be

exchanges and interactions between RCEP and TPP, which will be good for

both (MoFAPRC 2013).



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Both India and China make use of the discourse of openness in their

argumentations on economic issues. India additionally draws on a challenge/problem discourse (“global economic crisis”) in order to propose

certain actions, thus organizing the arguments according to a problem–

solution relation. The solution is structured along additive relations (“One

of these is (ADDITIVE)…The other is (ADDITIVE)…And the third is

(ADDITIVE)…”) and includes an implicit evaluative statement (“One of

these is the need to ensure coordination in our growth policies”) in order

to stress the value of coordinated actions among member states according

to the principle of openness (“keep the flows of trade…open, orderly and

predictable”). China textures the discourse of openness with the aim/goal

of integration in the form of a modalized deontic statement (“China holds

the view that regional economic integration should follow the principles of

openness, inclusiveness and transparency”), and stresses the desirability of

economic integration by making an explicit evaluative statement (“which

will be good for both”).

With regard to institutional emergence, the discourse of openness also

figures in the organizational emergent property associated with the scope

of issues covered by the regional institutions. This means that it might

actualize their potential corresponding powers. This is true not only in

terms of governing in general the policy issues discussed by member states,

but also in it having a specific effect on members’ actions and intentions.

6.2.2.3 Centralization and Control: Informal Consensus-Based

Consultations

In terms of institutional centralization, organizational emergent properties define how institutional processes (e.g. summits or meetings)

are organized and to what extent institutional procedures (e.g. principles, decision-making, negotiations, and declarations) are centralized.

Centralization is thus closely connected to control mechanisms within the

regional institutions (e.g. institutional rules, voting procedures, or financing issues). Both centralization and control are quite distinctive design elements in the case of both APT and the EAS, in that they are characterized

by the “Asian way”—with its emphasis on rather informal procedures,

consensus-based decisions, and therefore less concrete or effective policy

implementation. Probably for this reason, issues related to centralization

and control mechanisms are less clearly articulated in institutional texts in

comparison to other design elements such as the scope of issues covered.



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