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The State of the Globe 2004/05: Asia as the World’s Pace Setter?

Will Asia’s rise continue through the 21st century?

December 30, 2004

Will Asia's rise continue through the 21st century?

The continued rise of Asia — led by China and India — may well be the major development of the 21st century. But can Asia sustain its high growth rates and deal peacefully with growing political rivalries and competition for resources? And how long will it take to recover from the horrendous December tsunami? Our Read My Lips offers a range of opinions.

“The rise and fall of the dot-coms was a blessing for China. A whole generation got a crash course in writing business plans and raising cash.”
(Daniel Roth, Fortune reporter, October 2004)

“Is China a poor developing country? A regional power? An emerging global economic and military power? All three at once?”
(Bob Zoellick, U.S. Trade Representative, February 2004)

“China is the Japan of the 1960s.”
(Eisuke Sakakibara, Japan’s former vice minister of finance for international affairs, March 2004)

“We Italians went into China early, we brought them our methods, we sold them our machinery. Now it is like having a grown-up child who doesn’t need you anymore.”
(Beppe Pisani, president of an Italian textile company, February 2004)

“China’s foreign policy today consists of two things: Taiwan — and searching for oil.”
(Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times columnist, June 2004)

“If the Chinese wanted to live like Americans, we would need the resources of four worlds to do so.”
(Liang Congjie, Chinese environmentalist, May 2004)

“Move over, China. The anti-globalization crowd is discovering a new threat: India.”
(Wall Street Journal editorial, January 2004)

“Children are getting fat because they are always studying.”
(Lee Nan-young, South Korean mother of two teenagers, February 2004)

“He thinks every problem can be solved with money, but that is not justice.”
(Sunai Phasuk, Human Rights Watch activist, on Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, November 2004)

“Usually, a natural disaster strikes one or two or three countries — not eight or nine enormous coastlines, like they’ve done here.”
(Jan Egeland, UN emergency relief coordinator, December 2004)

“Thousands of our people were killed by a tsunami in 1907 and we have many earthquakes here. Our ancestors have a saying — if there is an earthquake, run for your life.”
(Mayor of the Indonesian town of Simeulue, December 2004)

“This disaster and SARS last year have helped get people to think again about the need for a regional response to such threats.”
(Chin Kin Wa, professor at Singapore’s Institute of South-East Asian Studies, December 2004)

“Disaster relief could provide a window of opportunity for the warring parties to put their differences aside and cooperate. This could improve the chances for political solutions.”
(Ooi Ree Beng, visiting research fellow at Singapore’s Institute of South-East Asian Studies, December 2004)

“If any silver lining can be found in such a cataclysmic event, it is that the impact on the wider Asian economy should be limited, because the region’s big industrial and port areas were unaffected.”
(Financial Times editorial, December 2004)