Abstract: This study offers a geopolitical case analysis on regional integration in Northeast Asia (NEA) within the context of the larger community-making process in East Asia. It argues that overcoming reluctant regionalism in East Asia is contingent on the formation of a viable region in NEA to complement the ongoing ASEAN-led regional dialogue. It observes that the frustrating region-making experience in East Asia is, in part, an outcome of the reluctance on part of the three core states of China, Japan, and South Korea toward forming a sub-region in NEA, due mostly, to extraneous factors that have resulted in political inaction and lack of sustainable institutionalization. This article, in this respect, identifies a number of contemporary geopolitical developments which may weaken the externally imposed impediments on regional integration and encourage deeper reconciliation among the three Northeast Asian states, thereby helping overcome reluctant regionalism in East Asia.
Keywords: Reluctant regionalism; Northeast Asia; Southeast Asia; East Asian regional integration; geopolitics