The painting "19 December, 1984" by Chinese artist Ma Baozhong, June 26, 2007.
Paul Yeung / Reuters

East Asia was a stable region in 1984, marked by general progress toward the goals laid down by the various national leaderships. In Japan, Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone’s election to a second two-year term signified continuity in foreign policy and particularly in the partnership between Washington and Tokyo. Not only is the close security relationship with the United States being maintained; Japan also began significant movement toward a modest but increasing political role in global affairs.

In China, the year saw a further blossoming of major economic reform. The opening to the West identified with the durable Deng Xiaoping and

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