International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses developments in the Middle East, Balkans and around the world. Dr Maria Smotrytska is Senior research fellow at IFIMES/DeSSA, a senior research sinologist, specialized in the investment policy of China. In her comprehensive analysis entitled “The Nonaligned Movement 60 years Later: Restless Asia seeking its pan-continental integration” she analyses the role of Asian countries in the pan-continental integration and the creation of comprehensive pan-Asian multilateral mechanism.
Marking the 60th anniversary of the inaugural, Belgrade conference of the Non-aligned Movement (NaM) (Aug-Sep 1961), the International Institute for Middle East and Balkans Studies (IFIMES) conducts series of research papers and reports. Hence, the first of them:
Following the famous argument of prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic ‘No Asian century without pan-Asian multilateral settings’ which was prolifically published as policy paper and thoroughly debated among practitioners and academia in over 40 countries on all continents for the past 15 years, hereby the author is revisiting and rethinking this very argument, its validity and gravity.
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Today Eurasia is the axial continent of mankind, which is home to about 75% of the world's population (see Map 1), produces 60% of world GDP (see Map 2) and stores three quarters of the world's energy resources (see Map 3) [Shepard, 2016]. In these open spaces, two giant poles of modern geoeconomics are being formed: European and East Asian, which are tearing the canvas of the familiar geographical concept of “Eurasia” and at the same time providing opportunities for new synthesis through the construction and connection of transcontinental transport arteries.
Map 1.: World’s population density (per square kilometer)
In the XX century, a united Europe was able to consolidate the power of its members and create the largest bloc that challenged the world hegemon – the United States, and the rapidly growing Asian giants – India and China. However, today the issue of the fact that the world economy is beginning to rely more and more on the East Asian pole of high technologies is being discussed more actively (see Map 4) [Tobny, 2019]. World geopolitics talk about the transformation of the Pacific Ocean into the same centre of business activity as the Mediterranean Sea in ancient times.
Map 2.: Global GDP Purchasing Power Parity
Map 3.: World’s natural resources map