Interview with Gui Yong-Tao,
Yuli Ismartono [time 27:55]
Yuli Ismartono: Thank you for being with the Leaders program.
I would like to start with a question about one of the major research topics when you were doing your doctorate and that is Asian nationalism. What is that?
Actually, the academics still do not have a consensus on the definition of this so-called Asian nationalism. But when I was doing my PhD research, it was during those years when Chinese nationalism and Japanese nationalism had a very serious clash over issues like history issues. So, I found out that even though we 60 years has passed since World War II, and the two countries have become independent nations for a long time, but still in people's hearts there are still strong nationalist feelings. And these feelings sometimes may not be very healthy, and we can use those words, and they may affect relations between nations in a very negative way. And also we have nationalists among China and Korea and with Japan and in some cases, with the overseas Chinese, because of its presence in Southeast Asia sometimes issues relating to nationalism may also occur which may affect the stability of the region. So in consideration with current international affairs in Asia, it is still relevant to discuss the issue of Asian nationalism.
YI: The nationalism of individual countries. Is there such a thing as a regional Asian nationalism?
Gui Yong-Tao: There might be some common themes among nationalism in different countries, for example many nations may share a history of anti colonial movement, and I think this is one of the major characteristics in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and many Southeast nations' nationalism, which might be quite different from the traditional nationalism we know in Europe or North America. And of course, Japan in this case has a very special position, somewhat similar to advanced and not Asian countries. Anyway this anti-colonialism is still a common concern among Asian nations, and especially when we look at the current international order although I think basically most Asian countries are active in participating in integrating themselves into this international order. But since they have this common experience of colonization, they have a common concern on the moral aspect, on the legal aspect of this international order. Sometimes they feel it is not fair, sometimes they feel justice has not been fully served. For this I think it might be a common theme in Asian nationalism.
YI: What do you think of this Asian identity. Perhaps that is the question that I want to ask you, especially with regard to ASEAN. They are very keen on developing a kind of an ASEAN identity.
Gui Yong-Tao: Well, personally, according to my personal experience, I really sensed an identity among Southeast Asian countries in various international occasions. And actually a recently new development is that China is actively promoting its relations with the Southeast Asian countries. And I think China many not think much like those Southeast Asian countries themselves because they have different cultural backgrounds, different historical backgrounds, but I think for current relations and for the future, China will devote itself to developing this kind of Asian identity. Of course, sometimes people may say that nationalism in some countries may conflict with this regional identity but we can find that on many many occasions, People from Korea, Japan and China and Southeast Asian countries, are gathering together to discuss to develop this identity, through their dialogues and negotiations and comments, and cooperation in such a field.