The Chinese Perspective
Despite turbulence in its bilateral relations with Japan and South Korea over the past several years, China has expressed a continuing and growing interest in establishing a trilateral China-Japan-Korea free trade agreement with its Northeast Asian neighbors, commonly referred to as the CJK FTA. What initially motivated China’s leaders in the early 2000s to attempt to conclude such a sweeping trade deal with two large neighboring economies that have such differing political values and levels of development at a time when the PRC’s own economy was still adapting to greater competition as aspects of its WTO accession commitments were being phased in? Why did they accelerate their pursuit of such a deal in the late-2000s, a period of widely-commented upon backsliding on economic liberalization in the PRC and growing dominance of the economy by the state-owned sector? What benefits from and obstacles to such a deal do Chinese observers see? And, finally, how likely is China to continue its pursuit of such a deal in an era likely to be characterized by slower growth and heightened tensions over territorial disputes with its neighbors, and how do Chinese analysts suggest Beijing proceed?