China and the Asia Pacific: Dragon Stirs

New alliances are in prospect as Asia Pacific countries hear again that the century may belong to them. But the players and their power produce memories of distant dynasties.

The World Today Updated 15 October 2020 Published 1 August 2005 4 minute READ

David Martin Jones

Visiting Professor, Department of War Studies, King’s College London

Mike Smith

Reader, War Studies, King's College London

Recent events in east Asia have produced much speculation about the region’s future; the apparently unstoppable rise of China has cast a long shadow. For when the dragon stirs, it seems the world trembles. As a result of the dragon’s growth, Asia is also rising and global political and economic power, we are told, will shift inexorably east.

However, the landscape of the new Asian century appears eerily familiar. During the supercharged east Asian economic growth of the mid 1990s, the vision of a new Pacific Century, and associated decline of the decadent west, was first conjured up by regional statesmen like former Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammad, and Singapore scholar bureaucrats such as Kishore Mahbubani. But the much anticipated Asian renaissance ended in tears.

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