Beginning in 2006, this APAP research program focused on the question of the “Development of Trilateral Cooperation among East Asia, North America, and Europe.” Over the past decade, there has been a marked increase both within and among these regions in economic interdependence, cooperation on security issues, and functional collaboration on issues of common concern. As a result, there are greater expectations regarding the ability of the global governance system that has supported these three key regions to play a role in addressing inter-regional, intra-regional, and global problems.

In East Asia, for example, there has been increasing momentum behind the formation of a regional community, as seen in the first East Asia Summit held in December 2005 and other new initiatives. But at the same time, the political and social diversity of the region has made it difficult to resolve a number of issues and the rise of nationalism in many countries in the region has been posing a challenge to multinational cooperation, leading many to realize that the path to community building will not be a smooth one. Similar issues face North America and Europe. In light of these developments, this research project is addressing the question of how the creation of a functional trilateral structure might be created to foster the stable development of global governance.

Participants presented preliminary drafts at the 12th APAP Forum in November 2006. The authors gathered again in Tokyo on March 10–11, 2007, to discuss revised drafts of the papers and to exchange opinions with policy experts. As a result of the project, East Asia at a Crossroads was published in 2008.