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Asia Politics

Political development

In Japan, the Conservative Liberal Democrats (LDP) have held on to power ever since the 1950s, except for a brief interlude from the 1993-1996 opposition. Japan has post-war pacifist restrictions on its own defense force, but in turn has a defense alliance with the United States; last renewed in 1996. The same year Japan was elected as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. In 2004, for the first time since 1945, Japanese troops entered a military fighting zone, more specifically in Iraq.

Political development

India, in all its complexity, has been considered the largest democratic country in Asia. However, Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi (1984) and Rajiv Gandhi (1991) both fell for killer hand. In 1998, India got a government led by the Hindu nationalist BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), and detonated its first nuclear bomb that year, which was immediately answered with Pakistan's first explosion. The battle over Kashmir led the recent nuclear powers to the brink of war in 2002. In the years following (2004), peace negotiations progressed between neighboring states. After the 2004 elections, there was a change of government in India. The Congress Party formed a coalition government. The party got a lot of support when Sonia Gandhi, the widow of Rajiv Gandhi, led the party's election campaign.

In recent years, a number of countries have approached Western democratic ideals; primarily South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia. The military has held a dominant position in Indonesian politics and social life, and has hit hard on the country's many separatist movements. East Timor was declared an independent state in 1975, but soon after invaded Indonesia. The occupation lasted until 1999, when East Timor was internationally recognized as an independent state.

North Korea and Myanmar still stand as examples of pure dictatorships; the former also nuclear-armed, according to his own statement. The relationship between North and South Korea has been periodically very tense, and North Korea's nuclear program has sparked strong protests from South Korea and from international teams. Myanmar, with its authoritarian military dictatorship and gross human rights violations, is a diplomatic problem for ASEAN countries, which through their cooperation seek to counterbalance an overly dominant China. For what is ASEAN, see Abbreviationfinder.

People's Republic of China

After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, China was characterized by fierce political campaigns and upheavals culminating with the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). After Mao Zedong 's death in 1976, Deng Xiaoping was the dominant leadership figure until health failed in the 1990s. The Deng line, with increasingly far-reaching economic liberalization, continued under Deng's hand-picked successors: Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. In 2002–2003, the latter took over the government by the state and the party at the head of the "fourth generation of leaders".

Neighboring China and Taiwan have long had a tense relationship. Taiwan has on several occasions expressed a desire to free itself entirely from China, something China has threatened to use force to avert. In 1997, China regained full sovereignty over the territory of Hong Kong, one of the world's largest trading centers. Hong Kong had been leased to the United Kingdom since 1898 and, according to the agreement, would be returned to China in 1997.

The Chinese people groups outside China have all secured leading economic positions in their new homelands, but are also viewed with varying degrees of suspicion by the majority of the people. Abuses against ethnic Chinese during the 1998 power shift in Indonesia aroused memories of the mass murders of Chinese following the 1965 military coup.

Security policy

Asia is a security policy a complex region. Several potential intergovernmental conflicts, such as the Korea Peninsula, Kashmir between India and Pakistan, the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, threaten regional and global stability. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is only the seed of a regional security mechanism. Internal state conflicts have been the cause of serious human rights violations and huge refugee flows, for example in Afghanistan, Indonesia and Myanmar.

Security policy

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to the establishment of a number of new states in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Many of the new republics maintained strong ties to Moscow, but also formed new relations and alliances, including the Commonwealth of Independent States (USSR). Both Turkey and Iran are active players in the area. After September 11, 2001, the new Central Asian states came seriously into major political focus. With permanent military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, the United States has secured bridgeheads in what was previously Soviet territory and since Russia's area of interest. In 2003, Russia opened new bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

In 2004, Afghanistan was still in a state of war after the ongoing war since a communist coup in 1978 (see Afghanistan War). Following the Soviet Union's retreat in 1989 and the fall of the communist Najibullah regime in 1992, opposition factions within the resistance movement mujahedin led the fundamentalist Taliban movement to power in 1996. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Taliban refused to extradite the wanted Osama bin Laden. US-led coalition forces crushed the Taliban militia, but occasional resistance has continued.

After September 11, the United States renewed interest in Iraq's alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Without a UN mandate, but backed by an international coalition of the United Kingdom, Australia and a few other countries, the United States embarked on a military attack on Iraq on March 20, 2003, to disarm the country and remove Saddam Hussein from power (see Iraq War).

In the 1990s, Asia took Europe's place as the United States' foremost foreign policy area of interest, but since the turn of the millennium, US dominance has been challenged by China. More or less openly, Asian governments have appreciated the stabilizing effect of US military presence in the region; a balance of power neither China seems interested in bringing out of the making.

Countries in Asia
  1. Afghanistan
  2. Armenia
  3. Azerbaijan
  4. Bahrain
  5. Bangladesh
  6. Bhutan
  7. Brunei
  8. Cambodia
  9. China
  10. Cyprus
  11. East Timor
  12. Georgia
  13. India
  14. Indonesia
  15. Iran
  16. Iraq
  17. Israel
  18. Japan
  19. Jordan
  20. Kazakhstan
  21. Kuwait
  22. Kyrgyzstan
  23. Laos
  24. Lebanon
  25. Malaysia
  26. Maldives
  27. Mongolia
  28. Nepal
  29. North Korea
  30. Myanmar
  31. Oman
  32. Pakistan
  33. Philippines
  34. Qatar
  35. Saudi Arabia
  36. Singapore
  37. South Korea
  38. Sri Lanka
  39. Syria
  40. Taiwan
  41. Tajikistan
  42. Thailand
  43. Turkey
  44. Turkmenistan
  45. United Arab Emirates
  46. Uzbekistan
  47. Vietnam
  48. Yemen

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