Asia and Europe in a New Era of Great-power Rivalry
europe is being pulled into a debate on how best to re-engage asian security issues without risking relations with beijing.
With the end of the Cold
War, Europe’s engagement with Asian security issues understandably diminished, but with the rise of China and the Sino-us contest for influence in the region, the continent is finding itself increasingly pulled into a debate about how best to re-engage without jeopardizing its relations with Beijing. Moreover, Russia’s greater assertiveness in Europe and its closer relations with China mean the European Union is being squeezed into making tough decisions about its role in Asia. Jo Inge Bekkevold outlines the challenges. IN The POST-COLD WAR era, economic growth, multilateralism and increased connectivity have marginalized the security agenda in both asia and europe. In 1994, singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong launched the idea of an asia-europe Meeting as a platform for dialogue between asia and europe, and it was only fitting that the “New Comprehensive asia-europe Partnership for Greater Growth” was chosen as the theme of the first asia-europe summit Meeting (asem) in 1996. More than two decades later, although economic co-operation still constitutes the backbone of asia-europe relations, China’s rise and Russia’s new assertiveness have brought great-power politics back to the top of the agenda. In this new era, the strategic theaters of asia and europe are once again closely linked to each other on the grand chessboard of international affairs.
europe and asia shaping developments in each other’s regions is, of course, not a new phenomenon. european imperialism had a deep impact on asian history, and the legacy of the Opium Wars is still evident in China’s current world outlook. The anglo-japanese alliance of 1902 influenced the outcome of the Russo-japanese war, and later opened the way for Japan’s takeover of German concessions in China at the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference following the First World War. The european powers supported the transfer of the concession to Japan and the bitter disappointment in China over this decision inspired one of the most important intellectual turning points in modern Chinese history — the May Fourth Movement. The Korean War cemented the Cold War as a global phenomenon and led to increased