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Japan, China and South Korea

Japan,China and South Korea

Japan,China and South Korea

Impactof Cold War Politics on East Asia Political Developments

TheCold War period was one of the most intense times in the history ofhuman existence. It pitted the United States against the SovietUnion, both of which were the only powers that came out with somefinancial, economic and political muscle after the Second World War.However, geopolitics in the Cold War was dominated by intensecompetition between the United States and the NATO allies and theSoviet Union and communist countries. Scholars have noted that theinternational economic relationships were immensely dominated andinfluenced by strategies and tensions emanating from the bipolarcompetition (Tarling, 2001). To contain communism, the United Stateswould give countries such as Japan and South Korea preferentialtreatment especially with regard to access U.S markets, financialinvestments, technology transfer and military spending (Wu, 2007).This may have resulted in the enhanced economic powers of thesecountries as opposed to their communist counterparts. However, it hasalso been blamed for their stagnation after the Cold War as thecountries may have become overly dependent on the United States(Rafo, 2008). Nevertheless, the preferential treatment was given inexchange for opening up their borders to free trade, which also madetheir economies relatively weak.

JapaneseColonial Legacy in East Asia

Asiawas colonized by varied countries including Europe and Japan amongothers. It is well noted that the Japanese colonial model had quite alarge number of impacts on the countries. For instance, scholars havenoted that the difficulties in balance of payment in South Korea maybe attributed to the economic model imposed by Japan on the countrywhere imports exceeded exports sometimes by more than 15% (Wu, 2007).Similarly, Japanese colonies had their export sectors tightly linkedto the metropolitan economy requirements, which limited theircapacity to expand.

Differencesin Timing and Pace of Economic Growth in China, Japan and South Korea

Thedifference in the pace and timing of economic growth in South Korea,Japan and China can be traced way back to the Cold War period. China,being a communist nation, closed its economy to free trade, while itscounterparts allowed for free trade with the United States and itsNATO allies. The increased cooperation with the United States at thistime created a strong foundation for growth for South Korea andJapan, while China stagnated (Tarling, 2001). However, China came toconsiderably open its borders and adopt free trade policies after theCold War. This was at a time when the United States could notguarantee Japan and South Korea any preferential treatment as therewas no competition with allies after the fall of the Soviet Union.China, on the other hand, was experiencing exponential populationgrowth which made it an incredible market for other countries (Rafo,2008). The increased cooperation of China with other countries in the21stcentury has enhanced its speed of economic growth.

Impactof China’s Rise on Japan’s role in the Pacific Rim

China’srise has negatively affected Japan’s role in the Pacific Rim.First, it has reduced the influence of Japan not only in the Pacificbut also in the globe. The high economic and population growth China,coupled with the calamities that Japan has had to grapple with, havereduced the influence of the latter in the economic and politicalspheres (Tarling, 2001).

Chinahas also become the final destination in the Pan-Asian productionsystem where advanced components and capital goods are imported fromKorea and Japan to undergo final assembly in China. While thisrelationship was initially complementary, it has become competitivewith Japan being on the losing end.

Further,China has increased its food trade volumes in Asia from 5-6% to35-37%, thereby edging out Japan and other Asian countries.

Confucianismas a Unifying Cultural Force in East Asia

Confucianismwas and still is one of the most popular philosophies in a largenumber of Asian countries. As a unifying cultural force in East Asia,Confucianism came up with rules, customs, regulations and demeanorsthat were applicable in varied social contexts. Of particular note isthe fact that some of the rituals emanated from religious contextsand were to be observed in fixed and regular patterns and periods.These rules determined the position of every individual in thesociety and, therefore, the roles that he or she was to play in thesame, thereby enhancing cohesion and avoiding confusion and chaos.


Rafo,A., (2008). Net Exports, Consumption Volatility and InternationalBusiness Cycle Models, Journalof International Economics,75 (1), pp.14-29.

Wu,H. X., (2007). The Chinese GDP Growth Rate Puzzle: How Fast Has theChinese Economy Grown? AsianEconomic Papers,6(1), pp.1-25.

Tarling,M. (2001),&nbspSoutheastAsia:A Modern History.&nbspMelbourne: OUP, 2001.&nbsp