L’Asie du Nord-Est sur la corde raide

TOKYO – Le refus de la Chine d’assister comme prévu cette année au sommet organisé avec le Japon et la Corée du Sud intervient à un moment éprouvant pour les trois pays. Bien que l’Asie constitue la région la plus dynamique de la planète, elle souffre d’un manque de mécanismes institutionnels dans la résolution – ou du moins l’atténuation – des désaccords internationaux du type de ceux qui alimentent les tensions dans la région. Dans la mesure où ce sommet trilatéral, désormais annuel, offre une réelle opportunité d’instauration d’un dialogue institutionnalisé entre les États du « Big Three » de l’Asie du Nord-Est, la réticence de la Chine à y participer cette année n’augure rien de bon.

Les sommets internationaux sont certes généralement davantage l’occasion pour les États de conclure des accords qu’un moyen de réchauffer les relations entre les pays les moins arrangeants. Pour autant, à travers cette rencontre organisée à un moment de tension croissante entre la Chine, le Japon et la Corée du Sud, les dirigeants des trois États auraient pu saisir l’opportunité de renforcer la stabilité stratégique dans le nord-est de l’Asie. Au lieu de cela, il est désormais probable que les tensions continuent de s’accentuer.

Le premier pas vers un meilleur équilibre des relations consisterait pour chacun des trois chefs d’État à reconnaître – et à faire valoir auprès de leurs citoyens – l’interdépendance croissante entre les économies des trois pays. Le commerce, l’investissement et la chaîne de production relient en effet aujourd’hui la Chine, le Japon et la Corée du Sud dans une mesure que nul n’aurait pu imaginer il y a de cela 20 ans. Comme l’a démontré l’histoire européenne depuis 1945, le partage d’intérêts économiques peut fournir les bases solides d’une construction de la sécurité au sein d’une région donnée, et ouvrir la voie à des réconciliations historiques.

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