The Region is characterized by China’s development from a developing country to the second largest economy in the world, the political division of the Korean Peninsula and the cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan. The overlapping territorial claims in the East China Sea are a frequent source of tensions as well.
Since the adoption of the reform policy in 1978 a process of economic and social change has been underway in the People’s Republic of China. China’s accession to the WTO (World Trade Organization) in December 2001 has created additional pressure to adapt since China is obliged to respect WTO standards. The results of that dynamic economic development include a widening social gap, particularly between rural and urban regions and between coastal and interior provinces of the country. In addition, there are the ecological consequences of economic development, water scarcity, and bottlenecks in energy supply. Thus balanced development was identified as a political goal in the latest Five-year plan.
The EU is China’s most important trade partner and investor, China itself is the second biggest trading partner of the EU (following the US). The Strategic Partnership between the EU and China was initiated in 2003, taking account of China’s growing importance. Since 1994, the EU-China human rights dialogue has been held on a semi-annual basis. There is also a regular political exchange of views at various levels, including, for instance, the annual EU-China Summit. Its goal is effective cooperation between the EU and China on international and global agendas, in international fora and economic relations.
In accordance with most states of the international community, Austria – and all EU member states – pursues a “One-China-Policy”. Austria does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, close cooperation between Taiwan and Austria in various fields such as culture, education, science, business and consular affairs has been maintained for many years. Furthermore, an Austria-office is located in Taipei.
Since the end of the Cold War Japan has been undertaking efforts aimed at global political commitment which is reflected in the country’s active participation in international peace conferences and in UN peacekeeping operations. Japan’s wish for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council has not yet been realised. Political tensions with neighbouring countries (China, South Korea) arise periodically.
Diplomatic relations between Austria and Japan, established in 1869, are characterized by an intense cultural and economic exchange. Japan remains one of Austria’s most important overseas trade partners and the most important Asian market after China.
The IMF registers one of the biggest growth rates worldwide for Mongolia. Although the current economic level is still relatively low, abundant natural resources (coal, copper, gold, iron ore, uranium and rare earths) promise a better prospect. The “Human Development Fund”, established in 2009, should redistribute a share of the income from natural resources to citizens in need.
The nuclear programme pursued by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea) dominates the political situation on the Korean peninsula. The nuclear programme is regarded as unacceptable by the international community who imposed sanctions through the UN. No peace treaty has been negotiated between the two Koreas since the ceasefire agreement of 1953. The so-called six-party talks between the DPRK, RoK, China, USA, Japan and Russia should help resolve the conflict but are currently discontinued.
Since the Korean War, the Republic of Korea (RoK, South Korea) has undergone a remarkable development into an important economic and trade power. In November 2010 it was chosen to be the first Asian host to a G20 summit, paying tribute to the rapid development of the past decades.