Bilateral Treaty Relations between Korea, China and Japan:
Precursors of Trilateral Economic Relations in Northeast Asia
ABSTRACT: Recognizing the importance of emerging Northeast Asian economies, this paper attempts to define strategies for trilateral economic integration of Korea, China and Japan in regard to their international treaty practices. An overview of the bilateral treaties between aforementioned states evinces that such treaties, economic or non-economic, have contributed to the progress of the regional integration both directly and indirectly. The backgrounds and elements of past successful negotiations provide guidance on the ongoing trilateral economic treaty negotiation. Due to some sensitive territorial, historical and political reasons, the progress of the intraregional economic integration may have been hindered. However, economic interactions through various treaties have been persistent; impact of the bilateral treaties in Northeast Asia over the intraregional trade and investments is considerable. This paper proposes that such bilateral treaties may at the same time provide a solid foundation for future trilateral economic integration. In addition, despite the lack of trilateral treaty practices, precedents of bilateral agreements can serve as a roadmap for the ongoing trilateral treaty negotiation on regional economic integration among Korea, China and Japan.