Originated from 1958, the European Union has grown into an economic and political union containing 27 member states. The EU aims at free movement of people, goods, services and capital, and it has become the largest economy in the world with about 26% share of the global GDP.
The EU sets up a good model in the overwhelming trend of regional integration. However, is this kind of unification adaptable world wide? The analysis of the possibility of an Asian Union may give a negative answer to this question.
I Common Economic Interest
The primary objective of building a union is to achieve common interest. However, the national interest of Asian countires differs a lot which makes it difficult to form an economic community. Japan and South Korea, two developed countries in Asian, are representatives of Pro-America. China, the other crucial economy in Asia, has a subtle relation with the United States which contains both cooperation and confrontation. Unlike European countries, the economic development between Asian countries is extremely imbalanced which leads to continuous dispute and conflict. The GDP per capita ranges from $68000 (Qatar) to $450(Nepal). Although Asia is one of the fastest developing region in the world, it has not shrinked from the dependence of the European and American-centered economy system. The amount of trade and capital flow between Asian countries is far lower than that betweeen European countries.
II Culture and Ideology
With vast area and various nationality, the culture and ideology in different countries are greatly diversifed. There is no so-called Asian Culture. Some major parts of Asia like East Asia, South-east Asia, Arabic region, Persia etc. have distinguishing traditional culture that all have a long history.
The religious difference between Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism is always a hidden peril behind the regional conflict.
Social systems differ as well. Japan, Singapore, South Korea are the main countries of Capitalism. China, North Korea, Vietnam stand for socialism though differ each other a lot in so many social aspects. Arabic region has a strong affiliation to Muslim culture which hold an ideology different from all countries mentioned above.
No general purpose language in Asia. Unlike in Europe, English, Rrench, German are widely spoken, Asian speak so many languages. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Mongolian, Sanskrit, Hindi, Persian, English, Hebrew, Pashto, Russian, Malay, Indonesian and so on are all common languages and belong to a wide range of language families which makes people difficult to learn others .The consequence is a lack of non-governmental communication within peoples..
III Geographical Barrier
Asia covers 44 million square kilimeters’ area, 11 time zones, 3 climate zones, and has 4 billion population. Altiplano and hill take up 3/4 of the whole area. The very various topographical features and altitude create a big wavy which put a barrier in communication and traveling. On the contrary, European continent is mainly plain, especially in western Europe which makes it easier to contact between countries.
European Union is a successful example of regional integration. For Asia, the imitation of EU is unrealistic in some degree. The barriers exist, but the mutual benefit is real. Asia is actively seeking a way to achieve reciprocity and common development.
Text by Cen Guan
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