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The Asian side of the world - II

Jean-François Sabouret

Part One. Regional dynamics and globalization

Will the Asia-Pacific region become Chinese?

Fabrice Argounès

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February 2012

Is East Asia part of Asia-Pacific? This question about the limits of an area that encompasses parts of East Asia and the Western Pacific contains two unnatural terms and reveals the power relations that frame the regional approach. East Asia – a Japanese concept – emerged in the 1930s and 1940s and was revived in the 1990s, with increasing trade in the area, the spread of Japanese capital and then Chinese capital and the construction of an Asian regionalism, partly driven by ASEAN. Asia-Pacific – an American concept – emerged after the Second World War and during the Cold War, through the US alliance system (hub and spoke) in the region and the increase in trans-Pacific trade with Japan and Australia. Now, Asia-Pacific appears to have been claimed by Barack Obama, born in Hawaii, leading to affirmation of a “manifest destiny” in the region, with island relays from Guam to the Australia, Japanese and Taiwanese allies, in which the US is strongly anchored. Geographical co...

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