The East and North-East Asia subregion1 includes dramatic diversity: the world’s largest states by landmass and by population are represented. High-tech market economies, command economies and resource driven economies are also present in the subregion. Wealth, poverty, ethnic homogeneity and diversity all co-mingle in the countries of East and North-East Asia. Political and geopolitical outlooks and priorities are vastly different. Due to these diverse approaches of development and complex relationships between the countries of this subregion, East and North-East Asia has not been able to capitalize on institutionalized regional cooperation mechanisms, unlike in other subregions in Asia and the Pacific. As such, functional and mainly bilateral cooperation in specific areas have been established in place of a multilateral entity covering multi-sectoral issues. While sectoral cooperation mechanisms have been effective in solving technical issues in a particular field, the growing interdependence and spill-over effects among different sectors call for a new approach to address common challenges in the subregion.

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