¶ … economic interdependence among North Asian states overcoming historical animosities and improving their political relationships?
The tendency to speak of "Asia" as a homogenous region in the West should not erase the memory of the deep historical animosities that have existed within the area. In the past, Japan has been an aggressor against both China and Korea. Recently, Japan has felt threatened by China's size and economic and territorial ambitions and strength. However, the forces of globalization and the economic interdependence demanded by the new global economy have been an important force in facilitating regional cooperation.
Prior to the 1990s few would have predicted that Japan, China, South Korea and the Southeast Asian nations would have forged free trade agreements and would be "meeting on a regular and structured basis to advance regional cooperation at the ministerial level in over twenty policy domains" as they do now within the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) regional framework.
Intra-regional trade now accounts for 55% of Asia's total trade; the number of air routes within East Asia doubled from 54 in 1985 to 117 in 2000.
Future proposed efforts for economic cooperation include the Asia Highway project and a collective enterprise designed to improve the highway system in Asia. A Trans-Asian Railway project has also been proposed.
However, tensions remain between regional actors in terms of foreign policy. On one hand, Japan has fostered a more positive relationship with its new ally South Korea. It recently apologized for the "suffering inflicted during Japanese control of the peninsula from 1910 to 1945," and the relatively youthful nation of South Korea now has fewer residents with fresh memories of the Japanese occupation during World War II.
But "territorial disputes, competition over resources and Japanese concern over Chinese food safety have also hampered co-operation."
And some regional agreements...
Along with the United States and Australia, Japan has united with South Korea to "counter immediate and longer-term threats from rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula" and China's increasing strength.
Because of its small military, a result of World War II disarmament agreements, Japan is particularly anxious about the potential for military engagement with its neighbors .Collisions between a Chinese fishing trawler and Japanese Coast Guard patrol vessels near the Senkakus in September further inflamed Japanese-Chinese tensions. Thus, despite the drive for greater regional cooperation, certain historical animosities between the nations of the region cannot be forgotten.
Q2. Is the Japanese tsunami a critical juncture for North Asia? Why or why not?
According to Calder & Ye (2002) critical junctures in the history of a region, such as that of the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s, can have a substantial impact in shaping regional and national development.
Such would seem to be the case of the Japanese tsunami. From a purely economic standpoint, the consequences are likely to be devastating. The International Monetary Fund on Monday lowered its 2011 growth forecast for Japan and the nation has already "battled sluggish demand, deflation, and high public debt" in recent years.
Japan's strongest corporation, Toyota, is showing signs of uncertainty because of critical delays in input goods. Japan estimates rebuilding after the tsunami could cost as much as $295 billion.
The environmental impact upon the region remains unknown. While less radiation was released than after the Chernobyl disaster, fears over use of nuclear power in a tsunami-prone region are likely to linger, and the health impact…
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