Expert Seminar with Prof. Andrew Yeo

  • 2019-07-10

EAI held an Expert Seminar on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 with Professor Andrew Yeo from the Catholic University of America. In this seminar, Professor Yeo gave a presentation on his new book, Asia’s Regional Architecture: Alliances and Institutions in the Pacific Century, which deals with development of Asian regional architecture from 1945 to present. The presentation was followed by a discussion session with four experts on this area.

Professor Yeo argues that through the lens of historical institutionalism we can better explain the persistence of bilateral alliances, as well as the proliferation of multilateral institutions in East Asia. According to him, historical institutionalism is the idea that “choices made earlier in time generate self-reinforcing mechanisms that make it increasingly difficult for decision makers to diverge from a particular historical path.” This explains why bilateral alliances like the American hub-and-spoke system persist, in spite of arguments by Asian institutionalists like Acharya that Asia as a whole would move towards multilateralism. Instead of a teleological trajectory towards multilateralism, multilateral institutions in Asia are “layered” on top of existing bilateral institutions as well as on top of each other in an institutional “hodgepodge”, where he uses a term “overlapping institutions”.

Professor Yeo made the argument that “structure is more important than agency,” saying that despite the United States turning away from Asian institutionalism and towards competition with China under the Trump administration, the regional architecture will prove persistent. He stated that in general, we should be optimistic about the potential for regional institutions in Asia like ASEAN to enhance regional cooperation because they are easy to join, amplify the power of small and middle powers in the region, and increase “face time” between leaders. Additionally, he claimed that within this architecture, there is ample room for the United States and China to cooperate.


■ Subject:
“Asia’s Institutional Architecture, U.S.-China Competition and the Future of Regional Order”


■ Presenter:
Prof. Andrew Yeo, Catholic University of America


■ Moderator:
Prof. Seungjoo Lee, Chung-Ang University


■ Discussants and Participants:
Prof. Seungjoo Lee, Chung-Ang University
Prof. Jihwan Hwang, University of Seoul
Prof. Jae Jeok Park, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
Dr. Jung Mi Cha, Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies




Expert Seminar with Prof. Andrew Yeo
Expert Seminar with Prof. Andrew Yeo