Research Group “Asian and Asian-Pacific Integration”

Working Group 1: Japan

Supervisor: Diana Schnelle, M.A./B.Sc.

This working group focuses on Japan as a stakeholder of integration in Asia and the broader Asia-Pacific region. Looking into three fundamental dimensions - economy, policy and security - it investigates how Japan's international strategy is simultaneously co-shaping and being shaped by regional integration processes. In this context, the growing number of preferential trade and economic partnership agreements, territorial conflicts as well as recent efforts towards remilitarization are given particular consideration. The key question is: Which role does Japan assume in the newly emerging economic and political order of the Asian and Asian-Pacific region?

Working Group 2: China

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Sebastian Bersick

In a field of tension between unity and diversity the increasingly closer ties between Asian countries induce comprehensive changes in existing and newly to be developed structures as well as the importance of individual policy actors. The working group examines the role of the PR China in this process of cooperation and integration in Asia and the Asian-Pacific region. On the one hand, the main focus is put on the question which possibilities and obstacles arise from the integrationist efforts of China as a political actor. On the other hand, the importance of the PR China as a stimulus for regional cooperation to address global challenges regarding a transformation towards sustainability is analyzed.

Working Group 3: The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Bersick

The importance and the influence of ASEAN for the intra-regional cooperation and integration in South-East Asia and Asia-Pacific are at the center of this working groups´ research. Current issues, such as the development of the ASEAN Community 2015 and the negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are analyzed using approaches and methods from comparative regionalisms studies, international political economy and international relations as well as role-theory. Moreover, in cooperation with the European and World Works Council of the Volkswagen Group, students develop presentations and short reports on current issues regarding the ASEAN integration process. The results will be presented and discussed in the presence of members of the management and supervisory board of Volkswagen within the framework of a field trip.