The Asian Mediterranean
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The Asian Mediterranean

Port Cities and Trading Networks in China, Japan and Southeast Asia, 13th–21st Century

François Gipouloux

This insightful book draws upon a wide range of disciplines – political economy, geography and international relations – to examine how Asia has returned to its central position in the world economy.
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Chapter 17: Transnational Regions and the East Asian Economic Corridor: An Asian Mediterranean

François Gipouloux


East Asia’s maritime corridor constitutes a huge trading area. It hinges on a manufacturing belt (along the coastal regions of China) and a string of logistical and financial hubs. Within the zone itself, the movements of capital and the flows of merchandise by air or sea are subject to extreme volatility. Hong Kong’s trade is partially threatened by the opening of direct links between the mainland and Taiwan; Shanghai has to face competition from Ningbo, and Kaohsiung from Xiamen; Singapore is losing some of the transhipment trade to the Malaysian ports of Kelang and Tanjung Pelapas. THE EAST ASIAN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR The East Asian corridor (see Map 17.1) is shaped by the great port cities of Tōkyō, Hong Kong and Singapore, which have strong links to the United States and Europe. It is relatively narrow in its east-west dimensions, but elongated towards the north and the south. There are two dominant poles to its north, namely Seoul and Tōkyō which are the destinations for airlines crossing the north pole or Siberia, while in the south Thailand is the destination of air traffic from Europe. THE EMERGENCE OF TRANSNATIONAL ECONOMIC COOPERATION ZONES In Asia the well-known processes of regionalisation within a single national space are overlain by the formation of transnational spaces which take in territory belonging to several countries. These economic zones are the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea. Assessing its economic impact is particularly difficult because statistical data collected on a...

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