When it comes to politics, many of us only look to local and national leaders – and tend to ignore what’s happening in the rest of the world. This might make sense if you need to save time. However, paying attention to what’s happening politically in other parts of the world enables you to live a more informed, culturally sensitive life – one that’ll help you make smart investments in foreign countries, cultures and consumer goods. In this article, you’ll learn some of the basic factors affecting Asian politics in 2020.

Political Divides

Asia is seen as a relatively stable region of the world, following the conclusion of wars in the continent’s southeast regions. Nevertheless, political divides continue to act out their effects even now – and there are many dangerous hotspots that might destabilize if difficult scenarios present themselves. You’ll see, for instance, what’s happening on the North to South Korean border by reading from experts at politicalnewsnorthkorea; meanwhile, the Indian/Pakistani border is also a tense region of the world, divided since the withdrawal of the British from the subcontinent after the Second World War.

Economics

In Asia, there are two well-known powers: India and China. China’s modernisation having come first, this country is now seen as a major and growing challenge to US supremacy in global economics. Meanwhile, India is a startling upstart in itself, with a space program and several exciting technological breakthroughs signaling their rise to superpower status in economic terms, too. With these two strong economies providing the world with plenty of consumer goods and cheap labor, it remains to be seen whether they’ll continue to grow at near double-digit rates in coming months and years.

Religious Identities

There are many religions in Asia, and in many of the countries across the continent, these religions play a major role in the sense of identity which their citizens use to navigate the world around them. Lifestyles are often formed around temple, mosque or shrine and dependent on denomination. Regrettably, different ethnicities and religions living side-by-side in Asia are not always peaceful – and the ways in which these states attempt to deescalate and relieve tensions is important for regional stability in the area.

Geography

An under-appreciated element to the Asian status-quo is undoubtedly the geography of the region. The geopolitics of Asia is clear when one consults a relief map: the huge Himalayan mountain range – the highest in the world – separates China from India, and acts as a buffer between the two jostling powers. Meanwhile, huge rivers – such as the Mekong that runs throughout southeast Asia – are the lifeblood of entire countries, and can serve to impact local, even national economies if they run dry. It’s by looking at the borders of these countries, and why they came about, that outsiders can best understand the Asian continent.

There you have it: four key factors that help illustrate the complex political map of Asia – from the subcontinent all the way through to northern China and Shanghai.