Chapter 10: Intra-regional Geopolitical Dynamics in Northeast Asia
Cheol Hee Park 1. EAST ASIA IN THE REGIONAL–GLOBAL NEXUS East Asia, or the Asia-Pacific in general, places itself as the economic powerhouse of the world as well as global geopolitical dynamics in the 21st century. Regardless of a debate on the decline of American power, the global power shift to East Asia is steadily on the move (Mahbubani 2008). This does not necessarily mean that North America or Europe is on the downturn. Nor does it mean that East Asia is going to feature as a consolidated whole against the West. Still, undeniably, East Asia is drawing more attention than before, especially in the context of a rising China. East Asia has long been a centre of global dynamism. The discourse on East Asian dynamism is not solely the story of the 21st century. In the latter half of the 20th century, the developmental model of Japan and the so-called East Asian tigers had drawn worldwide attention, especially after the two oil shocks in the 1970s (Evans 1995; Woo-Cumings 1999). In particular, Japan has been regarded as a country to learn from (Johnson 1982). Vogel labelled Japan as Number One as early as 1979 (Vogel 1979). Finding the secret of Japan’s economic success and political stability has long occupied social scientists worldwide (Katzenstein 1978; Curtis 1988; Calder 1988). Scholars also spotlighted the ‘flying geese model’ in East Asia where Japan took the lead and ‘four tigers’ in East Asia – South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore – followed. East...
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