Article Title

Asia Pacific Perspectives Vol. 6 No. 2, September 2006

Document Type

Full Issue



Protectionist Capitalists vs. Capitalist Communists: CNOOC's Failed Unocal Bid in Perspective by Francis Schortgen

China, Inc. is on the move. Whether or not this presents a welcome development for particular political and/or business interests – not just in the United States but worldwide – it is a reality that cannot be ignored, wished away, or warded off with protectionist measures in the medium- to long-term. The real question is: What is an appropriate China strategy in the age of Chinese multinational corporations? How and to what extent does the U.S. government’s current China strategy have to be revised so as to fit the new reality?

The protectionist impulse that the U.S. displayed in the CNOOC-Unocal debate is a clear manifestation of the inherently flawed nature of the United States’ current China policy, at least in the economic realm. Contrary to widespread perception, U.S.-China economic relations in general, and Chinese merger/acquisition attempts in particular, do not connote a zero-sum game. However, politically motivated actions, such as the one displayed in response to the proposed CNOOC deal in 2005, will provide fertile grounds for outcomes that most decidedly will not be in the best interests, whether economic, national security or otherwise, of the United States.

Economic Reform in Vietnam: Challenges, Successes, and Suggestions for the Future by Susan Parini

This paper presents an analysis of economic reform in Vietnam. From the end of the Vietnam War and the reunification of the country in 1975, Vietnam has shown remarkable resilience in its transition to an open-market economy. Despite the state’s centrally planned, one-party political and economic system, the government recognized that immediate action was necessary to pull the country out of its downward spiral. The article emphasizes the successes and shortcomings of state-owned enterprise reform and offers recommendations to expand the process. To conclude, the paper poses several social and political issues facing Vietnam today that—if resolved—will improve the quality of life for many Vietnamese citizens.

United Korea and the Future of Inter-Korean Politics: A Work Already in Progress by Brad D. Washington

On the eve of the 2005 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference, the governments of the Korean peninsula found themselves in familiar positions: security and economic policies determining the immediate future of Koreans were being heavily influenced by foreign nations. Outside interest is high because the Republic of Korea (South Korea) is noted as having the world’s tenth largest economy (Fifield 2005), while the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is cited as a nation with nuclear weapons and military strength.

Within these over-simplified labels of North Korea and South Korea lie several critical discussions: how will economic stability, the process of reunification, and foreign policy shape the future of the Korean peninsula? What are the perceptions of Koreans about themselves? What is the nature of negotiation between Pyongyang and Seoul, without the mediation and intrusion of other governments? The goal of the following discussion is to further investigate inter-Korean diplomacy to project the vision of a united and stable Korea. Evidence will conclude that the reunification of Korea is inevitable, and has been an ongoing process since the nation’s division.

A Hard or Soft Landing for Chinese Society? Social Change and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games by Charles S. Costello III

The Beijing Olympics promise to bring positive changes to China’s ideological landscape and act as a positive agent for change. With less than two years remaining, the Beijing Olympic Committee (BOC) has reached all of its milestones leading up to the games and has estimated it will spend 40 billion dollars in construction and infrastructure improvements, more than three times the amount spent on the Athens Games in 2004. Despite the early successes however, the Chinese government’s actions do not always embody the lofty goals of Chairman Mao’s frequent assertion that “in sports, it is the friendship, not the victory, that counts.” Beijing’s old hutong neighborhoods, rich with long cultural traditions, continue to be demolished at an unprecedented rate to make way for hotels, new apartment complexes and shopping malls. Will the hard-line rhetoric of the Communist government prevail as the world watches or will a softer more diplomatic, more polished government emerge and stand as a legacy of these Olympic Games?

Dashing Out and Rushing Back: The Role of Chinese Students Overseas in Fostering Social Change in China by Dannie Li Yanhua

As a leading source country of overseas students worldwide, China has seen two rapid increases among students flowing out of the country and returnees from abroad. The rises can be easily seen as consequences of China’s opening policy in 1978 and the booming economy that China is now experiencing. Yet, behind the seemingly straightforward emphasis on education and careers, there are significant changes in Chinese society driving the trends. These changes, such as shifts in political policies, altered economic and social environments, increasing nationalism, and rational westernization among Chinese nationals, contribute to the current human talent flows between China and abroad. The changes also indicate a tendency of transnationalism, a global trend emerging in Chinese society. This discussion explores China’s actual and imagined community of students studying abroad by looking at its demographics, the motivation of going abroad, majors of study, roles in Chinese society, and prospects upon return in the past quarter century.

Hip Hop and Identity Politics in Japanese Popular Culture by Cary Jackson Broder

Hip-hop has emerged in Japan as an artistic and cultural phenomenon, as well as a source of identity and cultural capital for young people. Originating in the streets of the Bronx in the 70's, Hip-hop music and advertising have become entrenched in Japanese popular culture. It has engendered lucrative new economic ventures and inspired new fashion, signs, and attitudes derived from images of African-American rappers.

This paper examines the impact of Hip-hop culture on Japanese identity politics as the movement gains momentum in the Japanese economic and cultural marketplace. By examining each of the four primary "schools" of hip-hop art, the paper illustrates how Japan's encounter with Hip-hop has generated new forms of self-expression, and cultivated new templates of identity for young people.

Implicit in this new form of cultural borrowing is the marketing of signs and signifiers of African-American culture. These often involve the packaging and consumption of stereotyped depictions of African-Americans. Images of gangsters, thugs, hyper-sexualized pimps, and head-wrap-wearing R&B divas found in popular media become templates for identity and fashion choices for many young Japanese people.

Not all hip-hop in Japan is emulative. As the art form expands, it develops its own unique characteristics, addressing topics like nationalism, cuisine and cultural identity itself. The discussion will shed light on the complex transmission of Hip-hop culture into the fabric of everyday Japanese identity through media, and the consumption of stereotyped images of blackness implied in the Japanese adaptation of the art form.