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East Asian myths

From Asian values to the Asian growth miracle, the west is mesmerised by the east. But Gerald Segal warns east Asia that it should not believe its own myth of a Pacific century: economic growth will slow and social and strategic problems will multiply. He also warns the west that it has no real friends in Asia

By Gerald Segal   June 1996

There are less than 1,500 days before the Pacific century-a century, we are told, which will be dominated by the economies and societies of Asian Pacific countries. Europeans have had their century or two of power; Americans might just be able to hang on for a bit longer if they turn their attention to their Pacific prospects.

Sounds silly? Well, partly. There will be no such thing as a Pacific century; but what is taking place in east Asia has important implications for Britain and the rest of the world. Europe and east Asia had their first-ever summit meeting in…

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