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Understanding the motives and rationales behind the small powers’ attempts at linking security and trade requires a detailed understanding of the important events that have precipitated the need for such as a strategy. The shifting political, economic and strategic conditions provide important clues about why and how weaker states use trade to solve their security concerns, and the trade-offs they make to do so. In addition, they also offer critical insights into when strategic innovation takes place, and when such an approach is more or less effective. To provide a complete overview of how the STL strategy is applied at the regional level, first, I trace the roots of these linkages in East Asia and the adjacent regions. After which, I then expound in details the dynamics behind the collective linking efforts of APEC and ASEAN members to show concrete examples of such linkages. This will highlight the types of cohabitative security threats and referents that are addressed and ‘co-habited’ into the respective trade agendas of these two organizations. Finally, a critical evaluation of the issues encountered by member states when linking security and trade is provided to illustrate their implications for the types of linkages formed.
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- Regional Linking of security and trade: ‘APEC Way’ versus ‘ASEAN Way’
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