APEC会议与亚太经济领导权转移

杨•拉沙利卡欣 新加坡拉惹勒南国际研究院高级研究员  2015年01月12日

【摘要】东盟国家和中国有着越来越紧密的经济关系,但与此同时却由于中国在南海地区越来越激进的领土主张和中国出现了紧张的政治关系。中国加速推进了亚太自由贸易区的步伐,也就以此加快了东盟自身经济和政治融合的步伐。中国未来将不再掩饰自己的经济领导力——正如他们已经开始在这一地区展现政治领导力一样。


刚刚在北京结束的APEC会议显然成为了中国的秀场。北京方面非常像世界第二大经济体的样子,现在正在带领这一地区走向亚太自贸区。作为一个曾经非常封闭的经济体,甚至都不是全球贸易体系的一部分,这是中国的一个巨大的飞跃。通过这么做,中国使美国提议的跨太平洋伙伴关系协定(TPP)黯然失色。TPP将北京方面排除在外。

习近平的行动表明,亚太地区贸易自由化的任何行动都不能把中国排除在外,而且自此之后这样的议程需要由中国推动。为了体现中国对此的认真态度,在APEC北京宣言中描绘了实现亚太自由贸易去的路线图,尽管目前还没有一个清晰的时间节点。中国在同美国的经济斗争中以智取胜。在缅甸召开的东亚峰会标志着中美两个经济大国的博弈进入第二阶段。东亚峰会中中国和美国都是成员。

经历了APEC的复兴后,现在轮到东亚峰会了。

有趣的是,北京方面将APEC会议视为中国主导下的地区经济一体化的平台。APEC会议自从1989年成立以来事实上是贸易自由化的舞台。亚太自贸区并不是中国的原创,正如新加坡总理李显龙明确表示的,亚太自由贸易区的构想在2004年形成,将其视为亚太地区大范围自由贸易区的最终目标。

但是自从1993年西雅图的峰会后由于亚太经合组织没有大的突破,APEC开始变得黯然失色。

在APEC会议的低潮时期,东盟开始了自己的贸易自由化进程。东盟自由贸易区在更大的范围内传递了自由贸易的思想。两个主要的平台逐渐显现:一个是跨太平洋伙伴关系协定(TPP),美国将中国排除在计划之外并占据领导力。另一个是区域全面经济伙伴关系(RCEP),这是从东盟10+3峰会中脱胎而出。东盟10+3峰会由东盟和中国、日本和韩国组成,另外还包括新西兰、印度和澳大利亚。

中国早期控制了区域全面经济伙伴关系(RCEP),坚持强调这是一个东亚的平台——意味着没有美国的空间。这部分解释了为何美国对TPP如此渴望并将其视作为实现亚太自由贸易去的路径。

随着RCEP和TPP逐渐发展为相互竞争的机制,中国和美国都对这样的竞争关系轻描淡写。东盟国家也面临着如何支持RCEP和TPP这两者间的矛盾。东盟国家只有4个——文莱、马来西亚、新加坡和越南——现在加入了TPP谈判,该协议谋求实现高质量的贸易自由化。另一方面,RCEP与东盟成员有很大的重合,事实上所有的国家都能够从同中国的巨大贸易中获益。

 

2015年对东盟的影响

尽管东盟作为整体视中国为亲密的经济合作伙伴,这些国家也都担心中国是他们的安全威胁。这已经导致东盟和中国的关系分裂成了两部分——一些人称之为二元性。东盟国家和中国有着越来越紧密的经济关系,但与此同时却由于中国在南海地区越来越激进的领土主张和中国出现了紧张的政治关系。

如何管控中国和东盟间这样的双重关系呢?这也就是本周举行的东盟峰会和背靠背举行的东亚峰会的背景。

中国加速推进了亚太自由贸易区的步伐,也就以此加快了东盟自身经济和政治融合的步伐。东盟的一个目标就是在2015年12月31日前形成东盟经济一体化,这不能再被拖延。此时此刻大约80%的一体化目标已经实现,其它比较困难的部分都将留待后2015时期解决。

但很显然,下一步不能仅仅是完成那一部分未完成的部分。如果东盟一体化的目标只是另一个迈向亚太自由贸易区的一部分,那么后2015时期东盟的前景是什么呢?这是东盟领导人必须开始思考,并且为东盟在21世纪成为全球成员的一部分设计路线图。

这样的新前景需要考虑到亚太地区快速变革的经济和安全结构。正如本周在北京所展现出的那样,中国未来将不再掩饰自己的经济领导力——正如他们已经开始在这一地区展现政治领导力一样。

 

东盟的困境

东盟领导人现在已经在内比都集结召开峰会,奥巴马和习近平也在北京试图重塑两国间的战略关系,将两国置于新的政治计算模式中。两国达成了重要的气候变化协定,但是奥巴马现在是跛脚鸭总统,而习近平则仅仅上台两年,仍然有10年的时间领导这个超级大国。

东盟的困境是:一方面东盟非常赞赏习近平治下中国的繁荣,而东盟也知道现在正进入一段和中国的紧张关系——中国开始展现肌肉,我们已经可以从南海的争端中看出来。令人好奇的是,在这一紧张的峰会期间围绕领土的争端有所降温。

东盟究竟仍然只是一个旁观者,看着两个大国之间的权力博弈继续展开,或者会采取一些行动展现自己的关键地位以重塑未来的地区平衡?这一问题将会成为东盟内比都峰会的关键问题。


 

 

Asia Pacific Economic Leadership: Shifting from the US to China?


Yang Razali Kassim


The APEC Summit that just concluded in Beijing was no doubt China's show. Beijing came out looking very much what it is touted to be - the world's second largest economy - now leading the charge towards a freely-trading region known as the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP). For a once-closed economy that was not even part of the global trading system, this is one giant leap. In so doing, China overshadowed and reduced a rival initiative from the United States - the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) which excludes Beijing - to what is a subsidiary platform.

 

President Xi Jinping has just shown that the agenda of liberalising trade in the Asia-Pacific cannot but take China into account; indeed, this agenda will henceforth be dictated by China. To show how serious it is, the Beijing APEC Declaration came complete with a roadmap towards the realisation of the FTAAP, though a clear deadline was shelved for now. With the US outmanoeuvered, the economic power game entered a second stage in Myanmar this week where ASEAN hosted the East Asia Summit in which both China and the US are members (with Beijing represented by Prime Minister Li Keqiang).

 

After APEC's revival, now for the East Asia Summit

 

Interestingly Beijing saw the revival of APEC as a major platform for regional economic integration - led by China. APEC was actually the vehicle for trade liberalisation in the Asia Pacific since it was formed in 1989. Indeed, FTAAP is not a Chinese idea, as Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made clear, but an APEC vision conceived in 2004 as its end-goal of a huge free trade area of the Asia Pacific.

 

But APEC lost its shine over time when no clear big-power champion emerged with the visionary leadership and commitment of then President Bill Clinton who hosted the first summit in Seattle in 1993.

 

During APEC's down-time years, ASEAN fell back on its own trade liberalisation process, the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), and preached the message of trade liberalisation to the wider region. Two major platforms then emerged: One is the TPP, for which the US took leadership with the exclusion of China. The other is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an outgrowth of the ASEAN Plus Three Summit comprising ASEAN's three Northeast Asian trading partners China, Japan and South Korea as well as Australia, India and New Zealand.

 

China easily dominates the RCEP and insists that it be an East Asian platform - meaning it has no room for the US. This is partly the reason why the US is eager to have the TPP as the key pathway to reach the FTAAP.  

 

While the RCEP and TPP evolve as competing platforms, both China and US have of late downplayed this rivalry. This is just as well for ASEAN whose members are divided between support for RCEP and for TPP. Only four out of the ten ASEAN members - Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam - are currently involved in the TPP negotiations which demand a higher standard of trade liberalisation. The RCEP, on the other hand sits better with many ASEAN members, virtually all of whom benefit from huge trade with China.

 

Impact on ASEAN Community 2015

 

But while ASEAN as a whole values China as a close economic partner, the group is also wary about China as a security threat. This has resulted in a two-dimensional relationship - a duality as some call it - that ASEAN has with China: a growing economic relationship paradoxically matched by increasing political tension caused by China's aggressive claims over the South China Sea.

 

How to manage this two-dimensional relationship between ASEAN and China provided the backdrop of the ASEAN Summit this week in Myanmar and the back-to-back East Asia Summit.

 

By stepping on the accelerator towards FTAAP, China has virtually also quickened the pace of ASEAN's own economic and political integration. The goal of an ASEAN Community - including a fully integrated ASEAN Economic Community by 31 Dec 2015 - cannot be further delayed. At the moment 80 percent of its integration targets have been realised, with the remaining "hard part" set to be tackled in the post-2015 era.   

 

But surely the next lap cannot just be about tackling the unfinished business. If ASEAN Community 2015 is yet another pathway to the FTAAP, what is the vision of ASEAN post-2015? This is where ASEAN's leaders must put on their thinking cap and collectively forge a roadmap to a new ASEAN that is a global player firmly situated in the 21st century.

 

This new vision must take into account the rapidly evolving economic and security architecture in the Asia Pacific. As displayed in Beijing this week, it will be a future in which China will not be shy to assert its economic leadership - in the same way it has staked its political dominance in the region.

 

ASEAN's dilemma

 

As the ASEAN leaders were convening for their summit in Naypyidaw, Obama and Xi in Beijing attempted to reforge the strategic relationship between the US and China, probing each other for a new calculus. Their major bilateral agreement on climate change was achieved in this context. But Obama is a lame-duck president on his way out, while Xi who is just two years in office, will be around for a full decade to lead a rising superpower.

 

ASEAN's dilemma is this: It appreciates the increasingly prosperous relationship that is blossoming with China under Xi. Yet ASEAN knows it is also entering a potentially tense future with China under a leader who is prepared to flex China's muscles - as seen in the resulting volatility of the South China Sea. Curiously, the regional tension over the territorial disputes is cooling down somewhat during this busy summit period.

 

Will ASEAN remain a mere bystander, watching from the wings as the power game continues to unfold between the two giants? Or will ASEAN do something to secure its pivotal position so that it could shape the future regional balance in its favour? This key question must have preoccupied the ASEAN leaders in Naypyidaw.


 
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