This is a chapter which questions its own title, but to good purpose. Whilst there is much fashionable talk about the ‘Pacific Rim’, it is arguable whether that term is of much value in describing a real-world phenomenon. By this I mean that in a conventional, geographic, sense a Pacific Rim exists. But in an economic or political sense it is difficult to find such a unified entity. Rather, we see a highly differentiated, fragmented and potentially conflict-ridden Pacific Rim. There are indeed unifying factors — rapid economic growth and new trading patterns have emerged to promote links between the countries round the Pacific periphery. There are emerging patterns of economic interdependence — possibly, according to some, hints of integration which define a ‘Pacific Rim’ and perhaps even contain the seeds of a future integrated Pacific economic community. But there remain, if not objections, then qualifications to the use of the term ‘Pacific Rim’. For example, the geographical definition of the term is debatable. Realistically, we need to stretch the concept some distance to encompass not only the rapidly growing economies of North-east Asia but also those of some of the South-east-Asian states which, while not evidently part of a geographical Pacific community still participate in the pace and pattern of growth in and around the Pacific region.
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