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Europe: Struggle For Relevance

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Chapter Summary

Europe, which in principle appeared as a victor, in reality lost its colonial possessions in Asia and many countries were subjected to devastation at home. Postwar relations between Japan and Europe began with mutual disregard at best, with a slow and cautious effort toward reconciliation, or at worst with a sense of antipathy from Europe towards Japan. The first Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) was held in March 1996 in Bangkok. Fifteen EU countries and the Commission attended from Europe and ten countries, seven from ASEAN (five founders plus Brunei and Vietnam) and three others (China, Japan and South Korea) attended from Asia. Japan and Europe have missed a historic opportunity to strengthen their relationship through an enhanced political dialogue. It also shows that the struggle for relevance and enhanced political cooperation so earnestly sought during the 1990's is still a distant objective.

Keywords: Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM); China; Japan; postwar relations; relevance; South Korea; struggle



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