From The New York Times:
America remains a colossus in Asia, for now. But between 1999 and 2004 trade among Asian countries jumped more than 80 percent, to $1.2 trillion, according to the World Trade Organization. Trade within Asia has come to exceed trade between Asia and the United States.
China has become the largest trade partner of almost every country in Asia. Even the exchange between the longtime rivals China and India ballooned over the last decade from about $1 billion a year to more than that each month. Of the $600 billion in foreign direct investment into China since 1978, most has come from within Asia.
Asia is a giant, competitive, interdependent regional economy that affects the world. Long-standing cross-cultural ties are strengthening, too, because of booming intra-Asian tourism and student exchange. “Korean wave” dramas and pop music can now be found in much of Asia, alongside Japanese and Hong Kong fare. And it’s now often hard to distinguish national origins of dubbed television and movies.[Full Text]