Abstract: My paper investigates the formal institutionalization of inter-governmental cooperation among the three major Northeast Asian powers – China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea—in the face of a continued North Korean threat. How much of a shadow, if any, has North Korea’s nuclear weapons cast over the development of multilateralism in the region? Since 1999, the Northeast Asian region has seen intensifying institutionalization of cooperation among its major powers. In a region where the realist logic of state-centric nationalism, sovereignty, and balance of power still prevails, this new development of trilateral cooperation among the former and potential adversaries deserves serious scholarly investigation. What started as economic and functional cooperation, trilateral cooperation has since been substantially expanded to include political and security agendas at the highest level of government. What explains the emergence and endurance of trilateral cooperation and to what extent has containing the North Korean nuclear crisis shaped its institutional trajectory and outcomes? By examining the evolution of trilateral cooperation, I address some critical gaps in our understanding of formal institution building and the economic-security nexus in one of the most dynamic regions in the world.
Speaker's Biography: Yeajin Yoon is a 2018-2019 MacArthur Nuclear Security Pre-doctoral Fellow at CISAC and a doctoral candidate in the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. Her dissertation examines the evolution of trilateral cooperation among the most militarily and economically dominant states in Northeast Asia, namely, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, and considers when and how their relations become implicated in the North Korean nuclear crisis.
Prior to entering academia, Yeajin travelled extensively across Asia and worked with national governments, international organisations, and NGOs in the region. She led the development of the inaugural issue of the 'Oxford Government Review’ and helped facilitate a Track II dialogue on wartime history issues in Asia at Stanford University. Previously, she worked as a founding member of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat, the official intergovernmental organisation for China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea and managed a development fund focused on the ASEAN region at the Korean Foreign Ministry.
Yeajin received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Honors from Stanford University and a Master of Public Policy degree from Oxford University.