East Asia and the United States

EastAsia and the United States

EastAsia comprises of Japan, China, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan andthe ASEAN ten member states. Since the end of the World War II, theorder of the nations has been shaped by external powers. The UnitedStates of America has been at the forefront of determining this arraythrough its bilateral regional alliances, political and militaryinterventions, as well as global strategic priorities (Chen 46). Thegeopolitical rivalry between China and Japan has for a long timeslowed down the regional efforts on the central issues such aseconomic integration, border conflict mediation, and diplomaticrelations.

EastAsia’s bilateral relationships have remained tepid. The straineddiplomatic ties between China and Japan during the World War II havecontributed to the current weak attachment, as each side issuspicious of the other’s military strategies. China’s armedforces modernization and the North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Programalso influence the two nations to lack trust in each other (Chen 51).The suspicions and emergence of China as a political and economicpower in the region prompted the other East Asia states to retaintheir relations with the traditional post-World War II allies. Thisaspect explains the United States of America’s continued strategicdominance in the region. Equally important, the bilateral securityalliance between Japan and the United States occurred due to the twocountries’ shared security concerns over the Korean Peninsula.Besides, the rise of China as a military power in the area is theother factor that explains the security alliance (Tung-Chieh et al.9).

Economicrelations among East Asia nations developed very slowly after theWorld War II. Commercial partnerships were also hampered in the 1970sas these countries aligned themselves to opposite sides of the coldwar. For instance, Japan largely followed U.S. policy while China’scentralized economic system did not favor liberalized foreign tradeand investment (Rodrik 9). However, China is currently the world’sfastest growing economy, and it is also an important market for otherEast Asian nations’ goods and services. South Korea, Taiwan, andJapan today find China as an important economic partner (Rodrik 18). It will, on the other hand, take quite longer for the East Asiancountries such as Taiwan and Japan to develop solid economicrelationships with their neighbors including China and North Korea.These alliances might not develop due to the identified nations’inherent distrust that stretches back to the Second World War.

Borderdisputes also play a significant role in the way East Asian nationsrelate with their post-World War II allies, including The UnitedStates. For example, conflict over the East China Sea has deephistorical implications, particularly in China-Japan relations. Thenature of U.S – China relations is strained by the push by theUnited States to maintain its strong presence in the region since theWorld War II. The other factor that adversely affects this allianceis the dispute over the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan Strait, and theSouth China Sea. Territorial disputes such the Diaoyu/Senkaku islandsalso put Security in East Asia at risk (Chen 88).

Giventhe aforesaid, the shadows of World War II and the subsequent ColdWar will continue to influence East Asia for a long time. Thepresence and vested interests of the major players in the battle,including the United States, will influence the Asian nations.Furthermore, there exist security concerns arising from disputes overthe South China Sea and North Korea’s Nuclear weapons program.China’s military modernization programs point to the fact that thealliances developed during and after the World War II will continueto influence many aspects of East Asian nations.


Chen,Jian. China’s Road to the Korean War: The making of theSino-American Confrontation (2nd ed). New York: Columbia UniversityPress.2013. Print.

Rodrik,Dani. “The Past, Present and Future of Economic Growth.”Global Citizen Foundation,June 2013. Web. Accessed on 28 Sept. 2013 from&lthttp://www.law.nyu.edu/sites/default/files/upload_documents/GCF_Rodrik-working-paper-1_-6.17.131_0.pdf&gt

Tung-Chieh,Tsai, Hung Ming-Te, and Tony Tai-Ting Liu. “China`s Foreign Policyin Southeast Asia: Harmonious Worldview and Its Impact on GoodNeighbor Diplomacy.” Journalof Contemporary Eastern Asia10.1 (2011): 25-42.