In the thirty years from World War I to World War II, there was a change of hegemony from the British Empire to the United States. Washington and Moscow faced each other for four decades in the Cold War in which the Soviet Union was defeated by a technical KO. No one knows how the dispute between the US and China will settle. If it will be a cold war (without warlike conflict between the claimants) or if we will have some setback.
The G7, a relevant club because of the political and economic weight of the countries that make it up (all Western, except Japan, which is partly Western), is meeting in Hiroshima these days. The setting, a city devastated after United States aircraft dropped an atomic bomb on it in August 1945, invites us to talk about nuclear arms control. Chips, war in Ukraine, sanctions against Russia (diamond trade) will also be on the menu. and sugar.
East Asia has been the region of the world that has developed most rapidly
East Asia has been the region of the world that has experienced the most rapid growth in recent years. In a movement opposite to the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century (which brought military and technological power to the West and subjugation and pain to the East), the center of gravity of the world economy has now shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific. , In terms of GDP, China is the second largest economy on the planet, with Japan third and South Korea eleventh. In the year 2000, the sector accounted for a quarter of world GDP. Now it must be a third party.
All this development has been possible because of the “cold peace” in which these countries lived. Protected in some cases by the security umbrella provided by the United States and in others by the pacifist convictions of a generation afflicted by nuclear holocaust, they focused on growing and conquering world markets.
Until the day when China ceases to be the “factory of the world”, the economy that knew only imitation has become a technological and military adversary. in a superpower.
Taiwan is the most eloquent expression of China’s desire to assert itself. The dispute over Taiwan concerns all countries in the region today. Japan in particular is alarmed as Chinese drones and reconnaissance aircraft fly over islands such as Okinawa daily.
Japan is uneasy about Taiwan and South Korea wants to return to nuclear program
But the immediate threat is the economy. The United States has already asked its allies to restrict trade of certain products with China and to reorganize their supply chains.
The fragility of the balance governing the region over the past half century is illustrated by the case of South Korea. Seoul’s main trading partner is China. Its great ally is the United States of America, which has been there since the end of the Korean War (1953). The purpose of the US Navy has been to defend the country from its neighbor to the north, which has demonstrated the effectiveness of its weapons from time to time.
Kim Jong-un has already shown in recent months that his missiles can reach US Pacific cities. So South Korea fears that the US will leave them stranded and focus on their security. Seoul, which gave up its nuclear program in exchange for that protection, is now interested in its reactivation. Over the past two years, military spending in all countries in the region has not stopped rising.