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8: East and Southeast Asia

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    Re-framing East and Southeast Asia

    In grouping East and Southeast Asia together as a collective for this chapter, the region will illustrate similarities that connect the region historically into current times, but it is of equal importance to distinguish the many defining attributes of both that makeup a vast and complex realm. China is the glaring superpower nation within the collective realm, serving as a somewhat nucleus for geopolitical, economic, and military strategic planning of east and southeast Asia. Part of China's rise out of the Maoist era in the late 1970s was the further development of conformists' communist rule that merge with western capitalism practices. With China's current leader Xi Jianping amassing an indefinite reign, the nation is seemingly poised to continuing become a major force of global influence that is aiming to replace western society's imprint upon the global stage. Past western stereotypes of the nation being stagnate and relatively recent past history of being oppressed by Japan, is rapidly becoming a inflammable distant memory as the nation continue to expand exponentially in various modes of development. China's continued growth and influence out of the 2020 pandemic has been contested by western theorists and intelligence communities as a somewhat facade, but its interests within neighboring Asia, Europe, Africa, and Central/South America continue to deepen. 

    Is it fair to categorize southeast Asia as a mere subregion with no context as it relates to grander understandings of what is known as Asia? Definitely not! Many outer perceptions tend to view the region as a tourist's haven with some of the world's lowest cost of living standards for indulgence or exploitation. Tropical beaches, islands, coastlines, dense jungles, hills, seas, religious temples, street food markets, proximity to other inter-regional areas, fluid and flexible processes for visa requirements all aid the lure to the region. Although, the underbelly of southeast Asian urban lifestyle as it relates to industries, services, development, and illicit sectors are also key components of the region's identity. Despite the duality of perception versus the reality of regional livelihood that exists, the area has a rich history development that continues to strongly influence the region's stability. The people of southeast Asia continue to maintain cultural resilience as well, despite the different eras of conquests and natural occurrences that impact the area. 

    The collective of Asia continues to evolve, rapidly develop, and endure turmoil throughout various regions within Asia despite outer perceptions and societal assumptions. In current times, the ASEAN collective is potentially emerging as an economic force and center for natural resources refinement hyper-productivity. Migration trends throughout the region from outer-realm foreigners continues to fluctuate as interests in subregion is growing. A future of affluence sustained uneven development, environmental atrocities, catastrophic atmospheric occurrences, and modern appeal could be in the making of a distinguished complex ASEAN. Despite east Asia having a longstanding imprint of "modernity" compared to southeast Asia, high urban population density, ongoing development, modes of turmoil and prosperity may be within the grasp of East Asia's immediate future as the subregions aims to elevate regional livelihood. In this chapter, it is a primary goal for the authors to highlight and distinguish the region of Southeast Asia as its own evolving realm. Southeast Asia cannot be generalized under the "Asia" umbrella without appropriate context and comprehensive insight to the dynamics that continue to shape its landscape. 

    The World Geographies Atlas: Navigate each world region through maps

    For each of the world regions, our original atlas provides detailed maps to help you navigate the places discussed in this book. These maps are meant to be explored before and during the reading of this chapter. These maps are best enjoyed enlarged. Click on each map for an enlarged view, and zoom in to see the prominent biomes, physical features, and population centers of East and Southeast Asia. We recommend that you download these for reference as you read this chapter's content and hope that you enjoy this original compilation.

    Biome and physical features map of East and Southeast Asia
    Countries, capitals, and population sizes of East and Southeast Asia
    Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\): [left] This map shows the geographic distribution of biomes and prominent physical features, like peaks, rivers, lakes, oceans, plateaus, mountains, and tectonic boundaries in East and Southeast Asia (CC BY-NC-SA; Wallace via Flickr). [right] This map depicts internationally recognized countries, capitals, major cities, and population distributions of Southwest Asia and North Africa. Note that population distributions are most dense along the shores water bodies (CC BY-NC-SA; Sellers via Flickr).

    8: East and Southeast Asia is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Jason Scott.

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