Thanks to a grant from the Korea Foundation, in 2016 the Istituto Affari Internazionali was able to promote international understanding of the current situation in North East Asia through the implementation of the project "Trust-building in North East Asia and the role of the EU". The project addressed the question of peace and security in the Far East, focusing on the efforts and the initiatives aimed at regional cooperation and trust-building undertaken by the leaderships of the Republic of Korea, Japan and China. Particular attention was given to Seoul’s proposal of a ‘North East Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative’ (NAPCI) launched by ROK former President Park Geun-hye in 2013. The study shed light on a subject which had received little attention in the West, including the distinctive role that the European Union would be playing in supporting the NAPCI as well as other similar initiatives.
The project had four main objectives:
1) Promote international understanding of the current situation in North East Asia, including awareness among European policy makers, civil society and the media of the efforts and initiatives focusing on regional cooperation and trust-building undertaken by the Republic of Korea, Japan and China;
2) Advance knowledge of the role that the EU would be playing in supporting the NAPCI as well as other initiatives aimed at regional cooperation and trust-building;
3) Offer policy recommendations and insights for policy makers on areas where there is potential for deeper regional cooperation and trust-building;
4) Promote scientific exchange and increase cooperation between Korean and European scholars and policy makers.
On 21 October 2016, IAI organised - with the kind support of the Korea Foundation and in consultation with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Rome - the international conference "Trust-building in North East Asia and the role of the EU", which saw the participation of leading European and Korean scholars who presented papers on the topic of the project.
Following the conference and two rounds of revision, IAI began in January 2017 to publish the papers online as "IAI Working Papers". A volume-length IAI monograph containing the conference proceedings was published in July 2017.
The project combined desk research and interviews together with live interaction during the international conference.
Funding: Korea Foundation