Asia and the Pacific
Asia was the most dynamic economic sphere of world activity, especially along the Pacific Rim. In 1989 a group of 18 nations extending from the Americas to SoutheastAsia formed the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Group. The APEC nations now account for 45 percent of the world´s trade. Following American and European models, Japan quickly became anindustrial power.
However Japan’s desire to expand farther into the pacific and on the Asian mainland eventually culminated in World War 2. Hirohito symbolized the role of tradition in Japaneselife, which has kept the Japanese in bondage to the religions of Buddhism and Shintoism. The Japanese began a major transformation of their economy as a result of the rise in oil prices initiated butthe OPEC nations in the 1970s.
In March 1996, Lee Teng-hui became the first democratically elected leader in Chinese history when he was elected as the new president in Taiwan. The CommunistChinese view Taiwan as a ¨renegade province¨ that must be reunited with Communist China. Although Taiwan has none of the vast natural resources of China, the Nationalist Chinese have, through hard workand free enterprise, developed a modern, industrial economy based upon manufacturing and trade. The greatest asset in Taiwan is its climate of religious, economic and political freedom.
South KoreaSouth Korea enjoyed the fruits of capitalism becoming one of the most prosperous nations on the Pacific Rim. In 1993, Kim Young Sam became the first civilian president of South Korea since the early1960s.
The Philippines did not receive its independence from the United States until July 4, 1946, when it became the Republic of the Philippines. However widespread poverty anddiscontent became prominent among the Filipinos due to a Marxist revolution later Communist agitation. Ferdinand E. Marcos was president from 1965 until 1986 when he fled the country after losing his...