Today history is being made in Asia with two important meetings. The first is between the leaders of North and South Korea. Just a few hours ago, Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in began to meet together at the DMZ (de-militarized zone). The meeting started with Kim walking across the heavily armed border, the first North Korean leader ever to do so, including his father and grandfather. Then after a series of greetings that included Moon Jae-in complimenting Kim for his courage, Kim invited his counterpart to come to North Korea. They proceeded to do so at that next moment, going briefly into the North.
It was a moment of high drama, and of course is being greeted by various emotions on all sides. Which is to be expected with such a long-awaited event. But no matter what, it is a key day of history in the making. Whether it leads to lasting peace that would include an actual peace treaty ending the Korean War, or to a nuclear weapon free Korean Peninsula, remains to be seen. And there is also the matter of whether it leads to Kim and the US President Donald Trump actually meeting next month.
But there is another meeting also happening today and tomorrow here in Asia. It is in Wuhan, China and the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi will meet with the Chinese President Xi Jinping. It is being called an ‘informal meeting’, and ‘unprecedented’ between the two countries at this level and with seemingly a more relational agenda. When the two largest countries on earth are meeting at the highest level, it is always a big deal, no matter what the agenda.
As I have blogged about before, (See India and China Once Dominated World Trade: Will it Happen Again?), the relationship between India and China is one of the biggest stories, if not the biggest, of the next 100 years. I believe we need to watch these two nations very closely, as they will have a huge impact on where the world goes and not only in Asia. This also will include the continued growth of faith in both countries and influence far beyond their borders.
India and China were once connected at many points in world trade through the various branches of the Silk Road, on land but also on the Maritime Silk Road. Through China’s One Belt, One Road Project, an ambitious 21st century initiative that sees the restoring of many transport hubs and highways all across Asia to Europe, those connections are being revived. It includes 68 countries, encompasses 4.4 billion people of the world population, and up to 40% of the world’s GDP.
There is such a sense of excitement in Asia, on so many levels. Of course so many things could change this hopeful future. Social conflict, rivalry leading to war, deep poverty. But with such a young population, forward thinking, and dynamic economic opportunities, there is reality to this hope. In the past few months, I have been in India, Singapore, and China for extended periods, and wherever I have gone I can see these signs of hope in the future.
As I have said before, Asia is the place to be. Make your plans to move now, if you don’t live there already. I say that with a smile and humor of course, but even if you can’t live here, get involved somehow in Asia, and especially India and China!