Eurasia Era Volume II Issue 1

For much of its history, East Asia was one of the world’s major population, economic, cultural and political powerhouses. China has been a vast empire with an advanced civilisation since ancient times, accounting for roughly a third of the world GDP – even in 1820. Both Japan and Korea had strong cultural traditions, thousands of years of statehood and economic power. The rise of the West after the Industrial Revolution pushed the region into the background for some time, and East Asia’s dominance in the global economy declined. However, Japan quickly responded to Western pressure by embarking on a comprehensive modernisation programme, and by the end of the 19th century had become an advanced industrial power. For a long time, Korea’s self-development was hampered by political factors – Japanese colonisation, the Korean War, division – but the southern half of the peninsula managed to rapidly get back on track from the 1960s.  China, the region’s giant, was the last to join the ranks of the Asian countries that were developing at a tremendous pace, but when it started to catch up from the late 1970s, there were global repercussions. The influence from the East Asian region is growing to this day: China has been the fastest-growing major economy in the world for decades, South Korea has become a high-tech powerhouse and Japan – now growing at a slower pace due to the high level of growth it has achieved – remains the world’s third largest economy.

The rapid development of East Asia clearly plays the most important role in the emergence of the concept of a Eurasian supercontinent. On one side of the continent, Europe has always been part of the global centre, and with South Korea also breaking away from its semi-peripheral position after Japan, and China following suit, the East is becoming a new centre. This, on the one hand, increases the intensity and weight of the links between the western and eastern ends of the continent and, on the other, also affects the vast areas between them. The “interweaving” of the two core areas – Western Europe and East Asia – can bring about the rise of the intermediate regions and thus Eurasia. East Asia is, therefore, the driving force of Eurasia, and it is, therefore, certainly justified to dedicate the first thematic issue of a Eurasia journal to the region.

Through this topic, we hope to contribute to the dissemination of credible knowledge about East Asia, to a better understanding of the region and to informed political and economic decisions. In our increasingly complex world, it is worth keeping a watchful eye on the East (as well).

The complete edition of Eurasia Era Volume II. Issue 1 can be downloaded by clicking on the “Download” button:

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