The CIDOB Foundation, Casa Asia and the Elcano Royal Institute have published the second edition of the Asia-Pacific Yearbook, a work which is coming out at a time of special activity in the region, which has become a focus of attention for the international institutions, chancelleries and media of the entire world, due, on the one hand, to the political and economic changes of great importance that are taking place around rise of China and, on the other hand, to the threats of gaining nuclear capabilities on the part of authoritarian Asian regimes.
The Yearbook's Politics section includes an assessment of the year for each of the regions (East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific), accompanied by analyses focusing on the policies of Spain, Europe (with the contribution of the High Representative for the CFSP of the EU, Javier Solana) and Latin America in the area.
In addition, the Yearbook devotes its attention to Security issues, with an emphasis on the phenomenon of international terrorism and its Asian dimension, and with an analysis prior to the presumed nuclear weapon test carried out by North Korea, the antecedents and political context of which are especially well outlined in the article by Gavan McCormack, one of the leading experts on this issue. It also devotes attention to the change in Government and the nuclear caprices of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as offering an innovative approach to the conflict in Kashmir, focusing on the autochthonous actors.
The section on Economics dedicates an article to the Japanese economy during the year, particularising another analysis on the Chinese economy, focusing on the 10th Five-Year Plan which ended in 2005, by the influential Chinese economist, Hu Angang. As in the first edition, this Yearbook includes two articles on trade and co-operation for development relations between Spain and the Asia-Pacific region, allowing for a yearly monitoring of the situation. It also analyses Asia's energy supply, a key issue for the future, given the more than likely future energy shortage on a world scale and the growing needs of the continent.
The Society section offers us an approach to a wide variety of issues, such as the management of crime and punishment in China, the rapid urbanisation of that country, the enormous challenges for the environment, and the view of sexuality and gender in Asia. This section also aims to clarify the keys for the management of a possible global pandemic, a threat which arises intermittently and the source of which has been recurrently situated in Asia.
Among other topics, the Culture section of the Yearbook deals with the current situation of contemporary Asian art and its circuits, the role of public intellectuals on the continent, and the role of professional sport and its growing ties with the media, the commercialisation of which is dealt with in another specific article on the topic. It also analyses the strengthening of nationalism in China and Japan, two conflicting sentiments sustained by history and mutual distrust. It also offers an assessment of Asian studies in Europe, with the desire to provide a general overview that would be useful to those interested in the subject.
Finally, and to promote the desire of the Yearbook to become a research tool, all of the above is rounded off with a Statistical appendix (with over 200 indicators) and a section of 'Country and Territory Files', which facilitate the realisation of studies and analyses on the area in a synthetic way. It also includes specific appendices for each of the sections in the Yearbook, especially the one devoted to the 'Active Conflicts in Asia and the Pacific' during 2005, as well as the 'Maps' section, which presents some of the key issues for understanding the current situation of the area in a visual, summarised way.