Robert Ayson is Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University, Wellington.

There is a strong consensus today that, to focus on its number one priority, continued economic development, China needs a secure and stable environment. A book published last year on Asian regionalism seems to back this sentiment up. We read that, at a certain juncture...

...China entered a phase of economic growth unprecedented in global history. Relative peace was important, as was the existence of a large internal market.

Nothing remarkable in that, you might say. Well, yes, except that the juncture author Geoffrey Gunn is writing about is 'the foundation of the Song (Dynasty) in 960', rather than China's opening up after Deng Xiaoping declared over 1100 years later that it was good to be rich. That's something to think about. What sort of time horizons are needed to consider the impact China will have on us all in the Asia Pacific and the extent to which the post-Vasco da Gama era will resemble some of the pre-Vasco da Gama centuries?

Gunn's book, by the way, is History Without Borders: The Making of an Asian World Region, 1000-1800, published by Hong Kong University Press.

Photo by Flickr user HKmPUA.