The New Asian Challenge
The initial postwar challenge from East Asia was economic. Japan crashed back into global markets in the 1960s, became the largest surplus and creditor country in the 1980s, and was viewed by many as the world’s dominant economy by 1990. The newly industrialized countries (Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore) followed suit on a smaller but still substantial scale shortly thereafter. China only re-entered world commerce in the 1980s but has now become the second largest economy (in purchasing power terms), the second largest recipient of foreign direct investment inflows, and the second largest holder of monetary reserves. Indonesia and most of Southeast Asia grew at 7 percent for two or more decades. The oil crises of the 1970s and the financial crises of the late 1990s injected temporary setbacks but East Asia has clearly become a third major pole of the world economy, along with North America and Western Europe.
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