Establishing Energy Cooperation in Northeast Asia: Implications from the experiences of the European Union

Ann van Veestra
Public Access Documents

It is increasingly considered appropriate to deal with international energy issues, such as achieving energy market stability and energy supply security and countering climate change, on a regional or even global level. The large energy-importing countries in Northeast Asia China, Japan and South Korea have also begun discussing establishing cooperation on energy issues although some obstacles are in place. Based on the experiences of the European Union, strong top-down imposed cooperation helps creating a strong framework that ensures ongoing integration, but is less effective at achieving results for more specific issues. Therefore, establishing energy cooperation in the Northeast Asian countries should start bottom-up, although top-down cooperation should be aimed for at the same time. By focusing on some more concrete topics first, the cooperation that is established on the basis of these topics could then be used as a basis for further cooperation. Some topics that could have this function are technology transfer on energy efficiency, joint stockpiling, transportation safety, and external policy to enhance bargaining power towards supplier states. Looking at the experiences of the EU, it is more likely that cooperation will be established on other topics than security issues. Therefore, especially technology transfer could play a large role in establishing energy cooperation in Northeast Asia.