The aim of the book is to provide readers with an understanding of the important and emerging political, economic and social trends and challenges in East Asia in the coming years.
There is urgency to conduct such a review of the state of East Asian affairs as the international and regional environments seemed to be headed towards greater uncertainty. At the international level, the European Union (EU) continues to grapple with its debt crisis with no clear resolution in sight. On the other side of the Atlantic, the US is gearing up for its presidential and congressional elections that will take place towards the end of 2012. The outcome of these elections would have implications for America's relations with countries in East Asia, particularly China. Already, in the run-up to these elections, potential candidates have whipped up anti-China sentiments or even called for tough anti-China measures to appeal their respective constituencies.
More significantly, with the relative decline of the US and EU, increasing doubts have been raised concerning the values and beliefs that have undergird the US and individual European countries' political system and institutions since World War Two. China's current stellar economic growth in the midst of the sputtering performance of the US and the EU economies have lent increasing legitimacy to the attractiveness of China's model that combines strong authoritarian leadership with the vibrancy of a market economy. Managing a rising China and a declining US and the EU will have an impact, whether big or small, on the countries in Asia.
Also, in East Asia, a number of countries have either undergone or are going to undergo major elections that have elected or will elect a new leadership to take over the helm, with possible implications for policy adjustments or possibly even policy changes in these countries.