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Is the 21st Century an “Asian Century”? Raising More Reservations than Hopes

Authors

  • Myongsob Kim,

    1. Yonsei University
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      An earlier version of this paper was presented at the International Conference held by the Korean Political Science Association on “The Rise of Asia and Its Future: Global, Regional and National Implications,” 13–14 April 2007, Sungkyunkwan University. The authors are thankful for discussants at the conference: Dong Zhiyong (Peking University), Ha-Lyong Jung (Kyunghee University), Zhang Jian Ping (National Development and Reform Commission, China), and Kisoo Kim (Sejong Institute) and also thankful for anonymous reviewers who gave invaluable comments. The authors are also thankful for the comment by Colin Flint (University of Illinois). Sole responsibility for errors remains that of the authors.

  • Horace Jeffery Hodges

    1. Ewha Womans University
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Abstract

Many are today arguing that the 21st century will be “the Asian Century,” and much ink has been spilled over the splendid achievements of Asia as evidence of such arguments. However, this paper suggests some reservations regarding that argument, though also some distant hopes. First of all, we do not know yet what Asia really is, as there are too many geographical Asias. More effort should be made to conceptualize the geographical, or geopolitical, boundaries of Asia, which are both too blurred and too intertwined among sub-identities within Asia, and without. Second, Asia still has a lot of matters that need to be resolved by Asians themselves before the optimistic and audacious expression “Asian Century” can be legitimately used. In resolving those matters by themselves through international cooperation, the conceptual boundary of Asia could become clearer and a shared Asian geopolitical identity would have more possibility of emerging.

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