National movements have contributed to a number of new sovereign states. The Arabian Peninsula (except Yemen) was united into one kingdom, Saudi Arabia, all in 1927. The other Arab territories that were mandated from 1918 gained independence in the 1930s, namely Iraq in 1932, Lebanon and Syria in 1941 and Jordan in 1946. A new Jewish nation state, Israel, was created in 1948. The Philippines, which became American possession in 1898, gained its independence in 1946. Burma became an independent state in 1947. India became independent in 1947, and divided into two states, India (Republic of 1950) and Pakistan (Republic of 1953; East Pakistan made itself independent as the Republic of Bangladesh in 1971).
Indonesia became a sovereign republic in 1949, and the same year the Kingdom of Laos became independent. Cambodia gained its sovereignty through a separate agreement with France in 1953, Vietnam the same year after an eight-year war and with a fateful split into two zones along the 17th latitude, reunited in 1975 after the end of an American intervention war (see Vietnam War). Malaya became a sovereign state in 1957. A new and larger federation, which also included Singapore and the two British colonies of North Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah), was established in 1963 under the name Malaysia. In 1965, however, Singapore resigned from this federal state.
As long as national movements nourished anticolonial currents, the idea of cooperation was strong. It reached a climax with an Afro-Asian congress in Bandung in 1955. Later, the special interests of the individual nation states have repeatedly hampered regional cooperation efforts. New nationalism has also given rise to serious armed conflicts, such as between India and China in 1962 and between India and Pakistan in 1965.
The tension between the United States and the Soviet Union in the latter half of the 20th century (the Cold War) was also reflected in the security policy situation in many places in Asia. Through the revolution in China in 1949 and the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, the superpowers gained new frontlines in Asia. Vietnam was hit by a bloody civil war between the South and the North from the mid-1950s to 1975 (the Vietnam War). The United States was actively involved in the war on South Vietnam, but suffered defeat. After the country was reunited as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1976, it was the dominant power in Indochina, with Pro-Vietnamese regimes in Cambodia and Laos. Vietnam’s armed intervention in Cambodia in 1978–1989 intensified its opposition to China.
China’s relations with the Soviet Union were exacerbated by the Soviet intervention war in Afghanistan in 1979-1989. Tensions were dampened when Vietnam withdrew from Cambodia, and the Soviet Union retreated from Afghanistan in 1988-1989. China officially “normalized” its relationship with the Soviet Union in 1989 and with Vietnam in 1992.
However, China-India relations are characterized by centuries of suspicion and rivalry, as is the case between China and Vietnam and between China and Korea. The relationship between China and Japan is complex on both sides, based on common cultural features, a bloody Japanese occupation (1932–1937) and two Sino-Japanese wars (1894–1895) and (1937–1945).
|Afghanistan||presidential and parliamentary elections 2025||38% in the presidential election in June 2014, 32% in the presidential election in April 2014; According to the Afghan Electoral Commission, just under half of those eligible to vote participated in the 2018 parliamentary elections|
|Bahrain||Parliamentary elections 2022||67% in the 2018 parliamentary elections|
|Bangladesh||Parliamentary elections 2022||close to 80% in the parliamentary elections in December 2018, about 22% in the parliamentary elections in January 2014|
|Bhutan||Parliamentary elections 2023||66% in the first round of the 2018 parliamentary elections, 71% in the second round of the 2018 parliamentary elections|
|Burma||Parliamentary elections 2025||about 80 percent in the 2015 parliamentary elections, 72 percent in the 2020 parliamentary elections|
|Philippines||presidential and parliamentary elections 2022||69% in the 2016 parliamentary elections, 78% in the 2016 presidential elections|
|United Arab Emirates||no general elections are held||no general elections are held|
|India||Parliamentary elections 2024||66% in the parliamentary elections in April / May 2014, 67% in the parliamentary elections in April / May 2019|
|Indonesia||presidential and parliamentary elections 2024||75% in the parliamentary elections in April 2014, 69% in the presidential elections in July 2014, 82% in the presidential and parliamentary elections in May 2019|
|Iraq||Parliamentary elections 2021||44.5% in the 2018 parliamentary elections|
|Iran||presidential election 2021, parliamentary election 2024||just over 42 percent in the first round of parliamentary elections in 2020, just under 73 percent in the 2013 presidential election 26|
|Israel||Parliamentary elections 2024||71 percent in parliamentary elections March 2020, 69 percent in parliamentary elections September 2019|
|Japan||elections to the lower house of parliament by 2021, elections to the upper house of parliament in 2022,||about 53% in the election to the lower house in 2017, about 49% in the election to the upper house in 2019|
|Yemen||presidential elections were supposed to be held in 2013 but postponed to the future due to internal unrest||65% in the February 2012 presidential election; 76% in the April 2003 parliamentary elections|
|Jordan||Parliamentary elections 2024||29.9 percent in the 2020 parliamentary elections; 37 percent in the 2016 parliamentary elections|
|Cambodia||Parliamentary elections 2023||70% in the 2013 parliamentary elections, 83% in the 2018 parliamentary elections|
|Kazakhstan||presidential election 2024, parliamentary election 2025||77.5% in the 2019 presidential election, 63.3 percent in the 2021 parliamentary election|
|China||National People’s Congress appoints government and president 2023||no general elections are held|
|Kyrgyzstan||presidential election 2027, parliamentary elections unclear||57 percent in the 2015 parliamentary election, 39 percent in the 2021 presidential election|
|Kuwait||Parliamentary elections 2024||60% in the 2020 parliamentary elections|
|Laos||Parliamentary elections 2021||99.6% in the parliamentary elections in April 2011, 98% in the parliamentary elections in April 2016|
|Lebanon||Parliamentary elections 2022||49.2% in the 2018 parliamentary elections|
|Malaysia||Parliamentary elections 2023||85% in the 2013 parliamentary elections, 83% in the 2018 parliamentary elections|
|Maldives||presidential election 2023, parliamentary election 2024||89% in the 2018 presidential election; 78% in the 2019 parliamentary elections|
|Mongolia||presidential election 2021, parliamentary election 2024||about 60 percent in the July 2017 presidential election; about 73 percent in the June 2020 parliamentary elections|
|Nepal||new parliamentary elections on 30 April and 10 May 2021||69% in the 2017 parliamentary elections; 78% in the election to the Constituent Assembly in 2013; 63% in the election to the Constituent Assembly in 2008|
|North Korea||election to the highest national assembly in 2024||no general elections are held|
|Oman||in 2019, elections to the lower house of the country’s advisory assembly, majlis al-shura, will be held||about 57% in the election to the lower house in 2015|
|Pakistan||provincial and parliamentary elections 2023||Between 50% and 55% in the 2018 parliamentary elections, 55% in the 2013 parliamentary elections|
|Qatar||no general elections||general elections have not yet been held|
|Saudi Arabia||no general elections take place at national level, only local elections||47% in the 2015 local elections|
|Singapore||presidential election 2023, parliamentary election 2025||95% in the 2011 presidential election, 92% in the 2015 parliamentary election, 96% in the 2020 parliamentary election|
|Sri Lanka||2025 parliamentary elections, 2024 presidential elections||71 percent in the 2020 parliamentary election, 84 percent in the 2019 presidential election|
|South Korea||parliamentary elections 2024, presidential elections 2022||66.2% in the 2020 parliamentary elections, 77.2% in the 2017 presidential elections|
|Syria||presidential election 2021, parliamentary election 2024||73 percent in the 2014 presidential election; 33 percent in the 2020 parliamentary elections|
|Tajikistan||parliamentary elections 2025, presidential elections 2027||86% in the parliamentary elections in March 2020, 85% in the presidential elections in October 2020|
|Taiwan||presidential election 2024, parliamentary election 2024||75% in the 2020 presidential election, 66% in the 2016 presidential election|
|Thailand||Parliamentary elections 2023||75% in the parliamentary elections in July 2011, 70% in the parliamentary elections in March 2019|
|Turkmenistan||parliamentary elections 2023, presidential elections 2024||97% in the presidential election in February 2017, 92% in the parliamentary election in March 2018|
|Uzbekistan||presidential election 2021, parliamentary election 2024||88% in the 2016 presidential election, 71% in the first round of parliamentary elections in December 2019, 62.8% in the second round of parliamentary elections in January 2020|
|Vietnam||elections to the National Assembly 2021||officially 99% in the election to the National Assembly in May 2016|
|East Timor||presidential election 2022, parliamentary election 2023||77% in the 2017 parliamentary elections, 71% in the 2017 presidential election, 81% in the 2018 parliamentary elections|
The region has also seen visionary, peaceful collaborative projects grow. The alliance-free movement got its start in Indonesia in 1955 (the Bandung Conference). In 1967, regional cooperation took on a specific form in a Southeast Asian organization, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). In 1985, seven countries formed the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), a loosely organized forum to promote economic and other cooperation. In 2003, they signed a free trade agreement that includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives. Check Countryaah.com for more countries.
Asian countries have also joined cooperative organizations both east and south, including Australia and countries in North and South America (APEC) and west with the EU (ASEM). APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) was formed in 1989 as a forum for countries in the Pacific region; in 1998, membership increased to 21 countries, including heavyweights such as the United States, Japan, China and Russia. In 1994, ASEAN began the implementation of the AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area) free trade area, while APEC made a decision in principle on full free trade in “Pacific Asia” by 2020. However, the countries’ very different development steps are slowing down the dismantling of the customs walls.
Very different strategies for economic development have been followed and followed in Asia. In common, the development is aimed almost at industrialization everywhere. For the economically managed countries, the general development model has long been based on Lenin’s idea that agriculture must provide food for the population and provide the savings with which the industry is to be built. For China, the idea took on a slightly smoother design, expressed by Mao’s principle of “walking on two legs”: thus initiating a tailored, simultaneous development of both agriculture and industry. In recent years, after the collapse of the USSR, both there and in China, an opening has been introduced to the market economy, but still with strong government control. The Chinese economy is experiencing strong growth. In other states, market economy principles for development have long been followed; for example, India has pursued an import substitution industrial policy. This encouraged domestic production of goods that had to be imported. In order to help the construction process, the infant industry was protected from foreign competition. Under the policy pursued, it has proved difficult for the locally produced goods to achieve a quality on par with foreign products at the same price.
Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and some other countries have pursued various types of market economy policy that have gone into trying to make money on the world market for their own development. This has succeeded in many places and has been seen as a model that can be used everywhere. However, there are many indications that the great success has been achieved on different, specific conditions. Thus, for example, Japan had a basis in a well-educated, but low-paid and disciplined population, an efficient corporate structure and national capital. This pattern has partly been found in the other high-growth countries, and in the early 1990s, East and South Asia is becoming more and more like the world’s future economic powerhouse.