Superpower synoptic, Edexcel June 2013

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  • Created on: 06-06-13 14:15
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The region in figure 1 has both economically and geo-politically one of the most strategically
important in the globe. This has occurred due to a whole range of factors including the
globalisation of world trade, the emergence of the counter colonial TNC's, the emergence of
NIC and BRIC economies and the legacy of a cold and world wars as well as imperialism for
most of the last century.
Each of the 4 countries named can be seen to demonstrate "super power mechanisms" both
hard and soft and two have a definite case to be termed superpowers within a multipolar
As figure 2 shows, the political systems in the region vary considerably in terms of
democracy and subsequently their interdependence and alliances with the rest of the globe.
The region is very significant to the global economy with 3 countries in terms of GDP
representing the second, third and fifteenth largest national economies.
2012 saw large political changes in the region. A new Chinese premier was selected, A
general election in Japan saw a swing to the right with new Prime minister Abe. In South
Korea an election saw the countries first female President and maybe a move away from the
hard line taken against North Korea by the previous govt. Finally the death of the North
Korean long standing dictator.....? saw the inheritance by his son and an uneasy future.
Political Disputes and territories
The island of Taiwan shows the complexity of politics in this region. Originally part of the
Dutch empire (Formosa) Taiwan became part of both the Chinese and Japanese empires as a
result of wars in the region. After world war 2 and Japanese defeat the island which is
ethnically/demographically Han Chinese was taken back from Japan . As Mao Zedong
defeated the Republic of China setting up the PRC, the ex Kuomintang government fled and
set up in Taiwan. Taiwan still remains officially the Republic of China and until 1992 had the
political objective of retaking mainland China. Most countries do not recognise the ROC as a
country and in many ways the island similar to Hong Kong is a self governing province of the
mainland. Recently there have been public calls in Taiwan to both officially become part of the
PRC and from others complete independence. The PRC military policy which is generally non
aggressive has stated that it would use military action if Taiwan was to claim full

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Taiwan is economically significant to China and is in it's own right the worlds
19th largest economies and home to large TNC's such as Foxcom.
In 2013 the Senkaku islands (Japanese name) became the centre of global attention
highlighting tensions between Japan and China . the 8 uninhabited privately owned islands
are only 7Km2 but do provide rights and access to reserves of petroleum, fishing grounds
and shipping lanes .…read more

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South Korea in particular are construed as
aggressive and threatening by China and North Korea.
The role of Japan in the war and its previous imperial colonial policies still leads to other
tensions in the area. Japan and South Korea both stake claim to Liancourt islands based on
medieval legislation!!. The Japanese government has refused to apologise for its previous
policies of "Comfort Women" where prostitution of Korean women was widespread.…read more

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American to Japanese industry. The Japanese economy then
went through 3 stages of growth initially focusing on heavy industry such as shipbuilding
followed by consumer goods and then High tech digital products. Japan invested heavily in
education. Small one room workshop style industries were encouraged to grow dramatically.
Japan was never in a position to rely on its raw materials and commodities of which it had
few.…read more

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Chinese TNC's do not feature high on global rankings but in terms of size and wealth,
companies like Sinopec appear in the top 10 according to the Fortune 500. Companies like
Lenovo, Foxconn and Huawei although not household names (which help create the cultural
hegemony some countries have) are in fact the world's largest players in the electronics and
telecommunications industry.…read more

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Growth Report
A criticism of all the economies either currently or historically has been the development of
research and development and technological innovation. The Growth report 2008 identified
key factors for growth including engagement with the global economy, specialising exports
and the transfer of key technologies. It also reported on the requirement to invest in
innovation and further education.…read more

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The size of the Chinese
market for food can have global implications, In 2013 another Chinese food safety scandal
surrounding infant milk formula led to the emptying of shelves in the UK as a huge import
black market was set up.
Traditional Chinese farms are fragmented or have insecure tenure meaning investment has
been limited. Less than half of Chinese farms have some form of mechanisation. State
investment into hybrid and GM crops is now very high.…read more

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In China the number of over 60's is set to double by 2030 (16% of total pop) to 365 million. A
2:1 dependency ratio by 2050 will create a huge burden on China as it faces a 4, 2, 1 syndrome
( a lack of comprehensive pension system means the burden of care falls on single
Grandchildren) as a result of the "famine solving" one child policy.…read more

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involvement in civil wars in both Sudan and Chad were due to securing oil supplies. China is
building ambitious pipelines westwards to Caucasus region. Fracking of natural gases may
also provide improved security but will impact on water security.
Japan has limited domestic energy supplies and is increasingly dependent on costly foreign
oil /gas imports(from middle east) especially since the closure of its extensive nuclear
programme after the tsunami disaster.…read more


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