The European Union and East Asia
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The European Union and East Asia

Interregional Linkages in a Changing Global System

Edited by Peter W. Preston and Julie Gilson

The global system has seen sweeping changes in recent years and this has precipitated a revival of interest in the relationship between Europe and Asia. This book examines the extent and nature of the regional linkages between East Asia and the European Union. Issues discussed include: the reactions and approaches of both regions to the Asian Crisis; postcolonialism and the balance of power in Europe-Asia Relations; trade relations between Europe and Asia and the revival of the Silk Road; and the development of the role of Asia-Europe Meetings.
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Chapter 4: Two continents, one area: Eurasia

Hans-Dieter Evers and Markus Kaiser


Hans-Dieter Evers and Markus Kaiser INTRODUCTION: TWO CONTINENTS, ONE AREA 1 Europe and Asia: two continents, two civilizations, two vibrant economic zones, but one land mass, stretching from Madrid to Merauke, from Stockholm to Singapore, from Moscow to Madras, from Bonn to Beijing. You can buy a train ticket in Bielefeld to board a train for Beijing via Moscow or you can drive your car from Rome to Shanghai via Tashkent. The division of this vast area into two continents is a pure fiction of the human mind, a social and cultural construction of geographical space. The history of this division can be traced and historically explained, but still it is an imaginary, though powerful concept that draws boundaries and maintains distinctions. When Turkey applied for membership in the European Union it was at first rejected, officially on political (human rights) and economic grounds but it was alleged by the Turkish government, perhaps rightly, that some European politicians saw Europe as culturally distinct from an ‘Asian’ Turkey and therefore incompatible. The orientalist construction of an ‘Asian’ culture as distinct from a European civilization that reached its peak during the colonial period, where it served to legitimize imperialist expansion, has by no means subsided. Good ‘Asian values’ as distinct from deteriorated ‘Western values’ are more recent inventions, based on similar strings of argumentation - but pointing in the opposite direction. For the past two decades Malaysia, like most other ASEAN countries, has ‘looked East’ in search of Asian values, production techniques,...

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