All groups in Social Sciences

WUN Asia-Pacific International Relations Network

Beijing 'Birds Nest'

Asia-Pacific: Shaping the world

The Asia-Pacific region hosts around a half of the world’s population and accounts for a similar proportion of the global economy. Individual countries from the region have significant global impact alone (e.g. China, United States, Japan), while recent and future endeavours to build a ‘Pacific Community’ could have a profound effect on all countries. Meetings between the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum – the world’s largest regional grouping – represent an important global constituency in a world increasingly defined and structured around regions, regional communities and regional powers.

The Asia-Pacific is such a fluid and dynamic region that it demands continual reappraisal and reconsideration. It houses the world’s two biggest economies, the world’s largest military power and the world’s most populous nation. The region is also home to eight of the world’s ten largest military forces. Communist, democratic and authoritarian regimes cohabit and coexist within the region, if not always peacefully. Many Cold War relics remain scattered throughout the Asia-Pacific. Taiwan remains a point of friction between the US and China; the 1953 division of the two Korea states at the 38th parallel is still intact; China remains a communist state, albeit one with many of the trappings of a capitalist market economy; and US preeminence in the region persists.