JC History Tuition Online - How does the UN General Assembly work - United Nations

How does the UN General Assembly work?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

The UN General Assembly: Revisited
Let’s recap on what we have learnt about the ‘world parliament’, also known as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). As stated in Article 7 of the UN Charter, the UNGA is one of the six principal organs. Among all six, the UNGA allows political representation of all member states through its “one nation, one vote” system.

Ever since its inception, the membership size has increased from a humble 51 to 193. Initially, the UNGA started out with its predominantly European and Latin American composition. Following decolonisation, the inclusion of newly-independent countries in Africa and Asia contributed to a global forum that is more representative of the world.

The Six Committees
There are six main committees to address a wide range of matters, such as “Disarmament and International Security” (First Committee) and “Administrative and Budgetary” (Fifth Committee). In October and November, the UNGA will begin its proceedings in these committees. During this phase, the UNGA will consider the adoption of resolutions to deal with procedural matters, like membership admission. Interestingly, the First Committee saw heated debates during the Cold War.

Article 21 of the UN Charter states that the UNGA shall “elect its president for each session”. Additionally, Article 22 points out that the UNGA should “establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions”. As such, presidents serving the main committees will come from different regional groups (Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern European and Western European) in a rotational manner. Notably, the Permanent Five members of the Security Council will occupy positions in the committees as vice presidents.

Each main committee elects a chair, two vice chairs, and a rapporteur. The chair presides over committee meetings and co-ordinates or encourages the informal consultations on procedural and substantive questions necessary to its effective functioning. The vice chairs preside as needed, and in most committees also organize or promote informal discussions on agenda items assigned to their care. The rapporteur, assisted by the Secretariat, drafts the summaries of debates and explanations of committee drafts that comprise its reports to the plenary.

An excerpt from “The UN General Assembly” by M. J. Peterson

The Regular Sessions
In the UNGA, the regular sessions commence from the third Tuesday in September till the third week in December. Each government of a member state can send delegates as representatives to attend the General Assembly session. Article 9(2) of the Charter stipulates that each member state should send “not more than five representatives”.

The Special and Emergency Sessions
In view of more exceptional situations, the UNGA can conduct Special or Emergency Special Sessions to address specific agendas. These sessions can last from one day to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the matter. They can be held at the request of the Security Council or a majority of the member states.

The following are some notable Special Sessions held by the UNGA:

As for Emergency Special Sessions, here are some examples:

  • 1st Emergency Special Session (1956): Middle East on the Suez Canal Crisis
  • 4th Emergency Special Session (1960): Congo Crisis

Use of the General Assembly as an arena for criticizing rivals and appealing to wider audiences began in earnest as the Second World War allies divided into contending Cold War blocs. Public debate provided both sides with occasions for asserting the superiority of its own vision for the world and the inferiority of the other’s. By 1950, another broad cleavage, between an anti-colonial majority and the remaining colonial powers, had also emerged, but did not inspire the same two-way intensity of discussion because the colonial powers were more defensive and subdued. From the late 1960s through the 1980s, the South–North cleavage produced sharp rhetoric as the more radical members of the Third World coalition took the lead in denouncing Western imperialism and neocolonialism.

An excerpt from “The UN General Assembly” by M. J. Peterson

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the United Nations General Assembly has fulfilled its Charter-defined roles?

Join our JC History Tuition to evaluate the effectiveness of the principal organs of the United Nations. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. We provide useful study notes, essay outlines and source based case study references for productive revision.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What happened during the Taiwan Straits Crises - Superpower relations with China

What happened during the Taiwan Straits Crises?

Learn more about the first Taiwan Straits Crisis of 1958 that shaped Sino-American relations from the late 1950s to the 1960s [Video by British Pathé]

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II: Cold War in Asia [1945-1991] – Superpower relations with China (1950-1979)

The First Taiwan Straits Crisis: A geopolitical contest
Following the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) victory over the Kuomintang (KMT) during the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the latter fled to Taiwan. The Taiwan Strait separated mainland China from Taiwan as the KMT formed the Republic of China (ROC).

Map depicting the Taiwan Strait that separated mainland China from Taiwan [Source: Ohio State University]

Quemoy (金门 or Kinmen) and Matsu (马祖) Islands were considered the first line of defence for Chiang Kai-shek’s ROC. Additionally, the United States offered to aid its newfound ally, the ROC, especially after its hostile interactions with Chinese troops during the Korean War.

Notably, US President Harry Truman delivered a rousing speech that reaffirmed the American commitment to its political alliances in East Asia, including Taiwan.

Accordingly I have ordered the 7th Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa. As a corollary of this action I am calling upon the Chinese Government on Formosa to cease all air and sea operations against the mainland. The 7th Fleet will see that this is done. The determination of the future status of Formosa must await the restoration of security in the Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations.

An excerpt from a statement by the US President Harry Truman on Korea, 27 June 1950.

A Mutual Defense Treaty was signed with ROC to legitimise American military presence in the vicinity. Yet, such actions proved aggravating to Sino-American relations. In early September 1954, the PRC launched the bombardment of Quemoy and Matsu Islands. Chiang deployed about 100,000 troops to defend the two outermost islands, hoping that the American allies would come to their aid.

After the first crisis, the US Congress passed the “Formosa Resolution” that granted President Eisenhower the authority to defend Taiwan from communist aggression.

The Second Taiwan Straits Crisis: The Conflagration
During the Bandung Conference of 1955, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai expressed desire to negotiate with the United States, possibly to de-escalate tensions and avert a full-scale military conflict with it. The olive branch offered by Zhou to the United States had earned much support and praise from the attendees at the Asian-African Conference in Indonesia.

By following the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, nonaggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, the peaceful coexistence of countries with different social systems can be realized. When these principles are ensured of implementation, there is no reason why international disputes cannot be settled through negotiation.

An excerpt from Premier Zhou Enlai’s speech during the Asian-African Conference, 19 April 1955.

However, efforts to reduce tensions were negated by Eisenhower’s contemplated to use nuclear weapons on the PRC. On 23 August 1958, the Chinese leader Mao Zedong authorised the artillery bombardment of Quemoy Island. In retaliation, the ROC armed forces fought back.

Under the obligations of the American-Taiwan defense treaty of 1954, the United States offered military aid to the Nationalists. Increased American presence in the Taiwan Straits had alarmed the Soviet Union, such that Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko visited Beijing to uncover the rationale behind Mao’s decision to attack Quemoy. Fortunately, the conflict did not escalate into a nuclear confrontation.

Chairman Mao said that the bombardment of Jinmen, frankly speaking, was our turn to create international tension for a purpose. We intended to teach the Americans a lesson. America had bullied us for many years, so now that we had a chance, why not give it a hard time?

… In our propaganda, however, we still need to condemn the Americans for causing tension in the Taiwan Straits. We did not put them in the wrong. The United States has several thousand troops stationed on Taiwan, plus two air force bases there. Their largest fleet, the Seventh Fleet, often cruises in the Taiwan Straits.

An excerpt from the “Inside Story of the Decision Making during the Shelling Jinmen” by Wu Lengxi

A thorn in the flesh: Prelude to the Sino-Soviet Split
On 6 October 1958, a ceasefire was made. Yet, the peace was short-lived as the PRC resumed its attacks on the two islands for nearly two decades until the late 1970s due to the Sino-American rapprochement.

Along the same vein, the Taiwan Straits Crises in the 1950s had impacted Sino-Soviet relations. On the surface, it appeared as if the signing of the Treaty of Friendship had proved to be fortuitous for Mao Zedong as he received Soviet military support to deter American attacks. Yet, the diverging perceptions by the two Communist leaders began to cause the gradual deterioration of bilateral relations. Partly, Khrushchev’s hesitance to antagonise the United States could be traced to his notion of “Peaceful Coexistence” that Mao could not agree with.

New evidence suggests that, on the contrary, the Soviet Union did everything it had promised to do in support of the Chinese operation, and that it was China, not the USSR, that was unwilling to follow through. This outcome explains why Khrushchev, feeling he had been burned once, was determined not to let it happen again. From then on he emphasized the need for a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan problem, a lesson that Mao was unwilling to draw, for fear it would expose the magnitude of his failure in the Quemoy crisis. These different views became a sore point in Sino-Soviet relations, as was evident during Khrushchev’s visit to Beijing in the autumn of 1959.

An excerpt from “The USSR Foreign Ministry’s appraisal of Sino-Soviet relations on the eve of the Split, September 1959” by Mark Kramer.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that the Taiwan conflict was the root cause of the Sino-Soviet split.

Join our JC History Tuition to analyse the significance of Taiwan and other related factors that shaped superpower relation with China. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. Students who enrol in the programme will receive concise study notes to enhance their study strategy and gear up for the examination.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What happened in Myanmar in 1962 - Approaches to Governance

What happened in Myanmar in 1962?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Search for Political Stability
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme I Chapter 1: Approaches to Governance

Understand the significance of 1962 in the political history of Myanmar. [Video by Foreign Policy Association]

Historical Context: An unstable democracy
Following the assassination of the renowned political figure General Aung San on 19 July 1947, U Nu assumed leadership as Prime Minister in the civilian government of Burma on 4 July 1948. Although the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) won the majority (171 out of 182 seats), it was battered by continued political disunity. The fragmentation of the AFPFL took shape when U Nu sought to shape the coalition into a unitary party.

Consequently Swe and Nyein formed the Stable AFPFL but the League’s HQ was in possession by the Nu-Tin faction as the President (U Nu), the General-Secretary (Thakin Kyaw Tun) and the Treasurer (U Tin) were all in one group in opposition to Swe-Nyein. The Nu-Tin formed the Clean A FPFL implying that their AFPFL was without any dirty ones in it.

… The AFPFL split created two major problems: inheritance of assets and title of AFPFL, and the choice of arena for the final showdown between the two brawling factions.

An excerpt from “The Split Story” by Sein Win, 23 March 1959.

Insurgencies and the military intervention
In addition, civil war broke out in 1949 between the central government and different insurgent forces. Origins of these violent clashes can be traced to disputes over the terms of agreement made during the Panglong Conference. For instance, the 1947 Constitution stated that the Shan, Kachin and Karenni became autonomous states within the Union and could secede after ten years. Yet, other groups like the Karens were not involved in the Conference, thus they were not accorded equal rights as the above-mentioned groups.

It is thus clear that the signatories to the Panglong Agreement believed they were assenting to early independence from Britain and the perpetuation of their freedom from British and Burman interference in their internal affairs; that, whatever their commitment, it was not to permanent and irrevocable integration in an independent Union of Burma ruled by Burmans.

Nor did Panglong’s signatories represent all ‘the peoples of the Frontier Areas’. A delegation of four Karens arrived late at the conference, attended as observers and were not consulted … and the Chins of the Arakan Hill Tracts, Was, Nagas, Lushais, Palaungs, Paos, Akhas, Lahus and dozens of smaller tribes were not represented at all.

An excerpt from “Burma: The Curse of Independence” by Shelby Tucker.

In response to mounting political and social unrest, Prime Minister U Nu requested the military institution, helmed by Ne Win, to form a caretaker government in October 1958. The agreement was made to oversee the restoration of political stability before general elections were held in 1960.

Coup d’état: Ushering an age of military rule
As expected, the military handed over reigns to the AFPFL in spite of their borderline success at maintaining electoral dominance in 1960. However, public perceptions had shifted in favour of the military, given the incumbent’s ability to ensure stability. On 2 March 1962, Ne Win launched a military coup. The General became the Chairman of the Revolutionary Council and Prime Minister of Burma.

General Ne Win’s assumption of power on 2 March 1962, while not unexpected, was nonetheless a surprise to many. It was executed in secrecy, and apparently even the deputy commander of the armed forces, Brigadier General Aung Gyi, was not informed until the next morning, though he must have been expecting it as early as November 1961, when he raised the prospect with colleagues.

… Two days later, Ne Win assumed all executive, legislative and judicial authority as Chairman of the Revolutionary Council. While the institutions of the 1947 Constitution were dismantled, so were the policies and activities of foreign institutions.

An excerpt from “General Ne Win: A Political Biography” by Robert Taylor.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the significance of the military in the maintenance of political stability in post-independence Southeast Asia.

Join our JC History Tuition to find out more about the essay topic on Approaches to Governance. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online thematic studies to build up your critical thinking skills. Also, there will be essay and source based case study writing workshops to improve your answering techniques. Get useful study notes and seek feedback from our tutor to grasp the concepts well.

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JC History Tuition Online - What was the Cultural Revolution - Superpower Relations with China

What was the Cultural Revolution?

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II: Cold War in Asia [1945-1991] – Superpower relations with China (1950-1979): Sino-Soviet relations

Examine the social, economic and political impacts of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution [Video by BBC News]

Context: An ideological split
Before the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Mao Zedong declared the start of the Cultural Revolution, the rising Communist power clashed with the Soviet Union. In particular, Mao disagreed with the Soviet leader Khrushchev’s policy of ‘de-Stalinization’ in 1956, fearing that the latter’s reforms may jeopardize the global Marxist movement. From then on, Mao criticized Khrushchev as a ‘revisionist’, revealing signs of a Sino-Soviet split that characterized bilateral relations of the two Communist powers in the 1960s.

The Chairman turned against Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization more decisively than ever before: “[Stalinism is] just Marxism . . . with shortcomings.” He continued: “The so-called de-Stalinization thus is simply de-Marxification, it is revisionism.” Finally, the Chairman maintained that the Chinese comrades, “unlike some people who have tried to defame and destroy Stalin, . . . are acting in accordance with objective reality.” It was the first time that Mao clearly distinguished between the views of the subjectivist revisionists in Moscow and the objective Marxists in Beijing.

An excerpt from “The Sino-Soviet Split: Cold War in the Communist World” by Lorenz M. Lüthi.

A decade-long revolution: Eradicating dissent
In the 1960s, Mao bore rising concerns with the bourgeois culture, which he perceived as as threat to the Chinese society. Mao viewed intellectuals and individuals that were supportive of the West as enemies of the Communist Party.

In January 1965, Mao established the ‘Five Man Group’ (文化革命五人小组) with Peng Zhen (彭真) to oversee the Cultural Revolution. However, Mao dismissed Peng Zhen and the rest of the Group. Notably, the publication of a circular on 16 May 1966 marked the start of the Cultural Revolution.

Peng Zhen had no discussion or exchange of views at all within the Group of Five. He did not ask any local party committee for its opinion… and still less did he get the approval of Comrade Mao Zedong. Employing the most improper methods, he acted arbitrarily, abused his powers [and] issued the outline report to the whole party

Those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the party, the government, the army, and various cultural circles are a bunch of counter-revolutionary revisionists. Once conditions are ripe, they will seize political power and turn the dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

An excerpt from the May 16th Circular, 16 May 1966.

The ‘Four Olds’
The Red Guards were formed to carry out Mao’s Revolution, comprising of radical students and officials. His aim was to eradicate the ‘Four Olds’ – old ideas, old customs, old culture and old habits (四旧 – 旧思想, 旧文化, 旧风俗, 旧习惯). From the mid-1960s to 1970, numerous party leaders were imprisoned, including the Chinese President Liu Shaoqi (刘少奇). Additionally, schools were forced to shut down. Cultural influences deemed too oriented to the West were also being suppressed.

The four olds embraced symbols of China’s traditional, premodern society, such as artworks celebrating Confucian elitism. These were roundly denounced as “feudal” at a time when the old society was still a memory for many, and its visible heritage included not only classical paintings and string-bound books but also elderly ladies with bound feed. The savagery of this aesthetic response to Mao’s call for Cultural Revolution is perhaps best understood as youthful ignorance and bravado, mixed with a generalized anxiety that counterrevolutionaries wished to restore the old society.

An excerpt from “The Cultural Revolution: A Very Short Introduction” by Richard Curt Kraus.

On the other hand, the ‘Little Red Book‘ was promoted and distributed to the Chinese citizens. It served to strengthen his goal of creating a cult of personality, similar to Stalin.

End of the Revolution
In the early 1970s, the Cultural Revolution came to an end. The Sino-American rapprochement of 1972 had changed the Chinese government’s foreign policy stance towards the USA. By the end of the Revolution, the Chinese economy was severely damaged. The ‘Gang of Four’ (四人帮), which included Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing (江青), was blamed for the devastating effects of the Cultural Revolution.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that Mao Zedong was responsible for the developments of the Sino-Soviet relations?

Join our JC History Tuition to comprehend the key events that shaped the Sino-Soviet split. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online thematic discussions, essay writing and source based case study workshops. Be analytical, organised and persuasive in your writing.

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JC History Tuition Online - How was Thailand affected by the Asian Financial Crisis

How was Thailand affected by the Asian Financial Crisis?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 2: Asian Financial Crisis

Examine the causes of the regional currency crisis to understand its significance on Southeast Asia [Video by Business Explained]

Overview
The Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 was a devastating problem that impacted fast-growing economies in Southeast Asia. Before the crisis, the region was fuelled by unprecedented growth, as seen by the rise of the ‘Tiger economies’ like Singapore.

The epicentre: Thailand
With the Bank of Thailand (BOT) at the helm of the nation’s push for financial liberalisation from the 1980s to the early 1990s, few had expected the central bank to assume partial responsibility for the underlying problems.

Since the 1960s, the Thai baht was tied to the American dollar. This arrangement proved beneficial in accelerating the Thai government’s switch from import-substitution industrialisation (ISI) to export promotion. The establishment of export processing zones (EPZs) was carried out in tandem with the large capital inflows from newly industrialised economies, such as Taiwan.

Like a moth to a flame: Enter the BIBF
Furthermore, the BOT had accepted Article 8 of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Agreement on 20 May 1990. It meant that BOT agreed to open the Thai economy to a larger degree of financial liberalisation. Notably, the Bangkok International Banking Facilities (BIBF) was formed in March 1993 as an offshore banking centre, turning the nation in to an investment hub that could compete with Singapore.

As a result of Thailand’s market-friendly measures, the economy gained from a tremendous amount of capital inflow.

In fact, between 1988 and 1996 Thailand was the recipient of the largest capital inflows relative to GDP in the world. According to the Bank of Thailand, between 1988 and 1996 Thailand received a staggering cumulative amount of US$100.3 billion, about 55 per cent of 1996 GDP, or 9.4 per cent of GDP on average per annum.

An excerpt from “The Asian Financial Crisis: Crisis, reform and recovery” by Shalendra Sharma.

An impending disaster
However, excessive capital inflow proved to be more detrimental than beneficial for Thailand. In particular, the influx of short-term capital, also known as ‘hot money‘, have debilitating effects on the economy, such as a widening current account deficit and an appreciation of the real exchange rate.

Although capital control measures were introduced on 8 August 1995, such responses proved futile. By mid-1997, Thailand’s external debt stood at US$94 billion. Its current account deficit was nearly 8.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In anticipation of the Thai government’s inability to finance their ever-growing foreign debt, foreign investors brought their money out of the nation. On 10 May 1996, the Bangkok Bank of Commerce (BBC) collapsed, causing widespread panic in the financial market. In December 1996, more than 50 percent of the companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) declared falling earnings. On 5 February 1997, Somprasong Land Company defaulted.

On 5 February came the first Thai default, by the company Somprasong, on a foreign loan repayment. Later that month, it was announced that the largest of the finance companies, Finance One, was seeking a merger with a bank to stave off collapse. In the face of widespread fears of an impending financial implosion, Financial Minister Amnuay and central bank governor Rerngchai Marakanond suspended trading of financial sector shares on the stock exchange and went on national television to announce a series of emergency measures designed to reassure nervous markets.

An excerpt from “The Asian Financial Crisis and the Architecture of Global Finance” by Gregory W. Noble and John Ravenhill.

Although the Thai Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh had claimed that the baht would never be allowed to devalue, a massive depreciation occurred on 2 July 1997. Subsequently, the Chavalit administration turned to the IMF for help.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Asian Financial Crisis was inevitable?

Join our JC History Tuition and learn to answer essay questions on the Asian Financial Crisis. The H2 and H1 History Tuition features enriching and skills-oriented online classes to consolidate what you have learnt at school and apply them to examination-based questions. Get concise study notes and receive tutor feedback to correct your writing errors productively.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - What was ASEAN's response to the Third Indochina War

What was ASEAN’s response to the Third Indochina War?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security – relations between ASEAN and external powers)

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Essay Questions
Theme II Chapter 2: The Cold War and Southeast Asia (1945-1991): ASEAN and the Cold War (ASEAN’s responses to Cold War bipolarity)

Historical context: A violation of national sovereignty
In December 1978, Vietnamese forces launched a full-scale assault, crossing the Cambodian-Vietnamese border.

In January 1979, the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh was occupied by an alternative government, the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK).

In the same month, Singapore joined other member nations for an urgent meeting. After much deliberation, ASEAN issued a joint statement to deplore the invasion, calling for the immediate withdrawal of Vietnamese forces from Cambodia.

4. Towards this end, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers called for the immediate and total withdrawal of the foreign forces from Kampuchean territory.

5. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers welcomed the decision of the United Nations Security Council to consider without delay the situation in Indochina, and strongly urged the Council to take the necessary and appropriate measures to restore peace, security and stability in the area.

An excerpt from the “Joint Statement The Special ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting On The Current Political Development In The Southeast Asia Region Bangkok“, 12 January 1979.

Notably, ASEAN not only made a united stand against military aggression, but also called on the United Nations to address this escalating threat that had endangered regional stability.

Contestation by Great Powers
On 17 February 1979, China engaged in a military confrontation with Vietnam. Observers interpreted the attack as a hint to Moscow that China would not remain on the sidelines following the invasion. Yet, ASEAN members were increasingly concerned with the Chinese involvement in the conflict.

After much persuasion with member nations in the United Nations General Assembly, the International Conference on Kampuchea (ICK) was held from 13 to 17 July 1981. However, there were some shortcomings.

The pro-Communist bloc nations like Soviet Union and Vietnam were absent. Additionally, China had disagreed with ASEAN’s draft for the ICK, particularly the disarmament of Khmer resistance groups and the creation of an interim administration.

Singapore saw this inflexible Chinese position as evidence of Beijing not wanting an early solution, and that it was more interested in a protracted conflict to “bleed” Vietnam. Its ultimate objective was to use the armed forces of the Khmer Rouge to restore a pro-China regime in Phnom Penh, and hopefully see the emergence of a Chinese-friendly Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Manila felt that ASEAN should not be seen to be succumbing to China’s pressure at this stage whereas Bangkok was more interested in accommodating China, as its overriding concern was to ensure that China could help defend Thailand against a Soviet-supported Vietnam.

An excerpt from “Singapore, ASEAN and the Cambodian Conflict 1978-1991” by Ang Cheng Guan.

The situation had become even more complex when the US delegation sided with China. Then Foreign Minister of Singapore Dhanabalan had revealed that attempts to convince Big Powers like the USA and China had been challenging, given their diverging interests with ASEAN members during the Cold War.

I was surprised to note how keen the U.S. was to accommodate the PRC’s request. I explained to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State that it was not possible to accede to the PRC’s request as it was wrong and would also not get any support from the conference. He ended the meeting by threatening that he would go over my head and take the matter up with Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore… It was a real life experience for me that interests and not principles determine the actions of big powers.

An excerpt from “The Little Red Dot: Reflections by Singapore’s Diplomats” by Tommy Koh and Li Lin Chang.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the challenges that ASEAN faced in response to the Third Indochina War.

Join our JC History Tuition to study how ASEAN managed various regional and international threats during the Cold War. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online learning programmes to organise your content awareness and writing skills for essay and source based case study. We organise free writing practices for students to hone their answering techniques.

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JC History Tuition Online - What is the SIJORI Growth Triangle - Economic Development Notes

What is the SIOJRI Growth Triangle?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Growth Triangle: What is it about?
In December 1989, the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Goh Chok Tong, proposed the idea of a ‘Growth Triangle’. Countries could capitalise on the complementarity of resources and the geographical proximity to promote economic integration.

For Singapore, it had skilled labour and well-developed transportation and communications infrastructure. For Malaysia and Indonesia, Johor and Riau Islands had abundant natural resources like gas, water and land.

Thus far, the “Growth Triangle” has been implemented through a series of bilateral arrangements, rather than through one multilateral agreement, with development primarily led by the private sector. The three governments in turn coordinate investments, immigration, and other policies and plans to adjust to the requirements of the private sector.

An excerpt from “The Growth Triangle of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia” by Terence P. Stewart and Margaret L. H. Png.

The SIJORI
The Singapore-Johor-Riau (SIJORI) Growth Triangle was created as a tripartite arrangement between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia on 20 December 1989. Notably, the Singapore-Riau link had contributed to the development of industrial parks and tourist resorts in the Indonesian islands like Batam and Bintan.

SIJORI was formed in 1989 and covers a population of more than 8 million people. It is built on a vertical division of labour, whereby Singapore serves as the supplier of advanced electronic infrastructure, technology, financial and insurance services, a comfortable international entrance port, and international know-how. The Batam island (in Riau, Indonesia) supplies low-cost labour and land, whereas Johor (Malaysia) provides semi-skilled labour, industrial sites and competence.

An excerpt from “Rethinking Regionalism” by Fredrik Söderbaum.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that regional cooperation was vital in shaping the economic development of Singapore in the 1990s.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about Paths to Economic Development in independent Southeast Asia. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online classes, study references, essay and SBCS outlines.

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JC History Tuition Online - What is the Winsemius report - Economic Development Notes

What is the Winsemius report?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Find out how the Dutch economist Albert Winsemius contributed to Singapore’s economic development [Video by The HEAD Foundation]

Who is Albert Winsemius?
Albert Winsemius began his career as a price controller in the Netherlands. After the end of the Second World War, Winsemius assumed the role as a director-general of industrial development in the Finance Ministry. After Singapore attained self-government in 1959, Winsemius made a visit to Singapore. He was involved in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) team to determine Singapore’s capacity for industrialisation.

The Report
Then Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew had welcomed the Dutch economist’s review of Singapore’s economic conditions. Alongside the finance and Deputy Prime Minister Dr Goh Keng Swee, Winsemius served as an economic advisor to the government from the early 1960s to mid-1980s. There were two key observations that were made in his report.

The first was that Singapore did not lack entrepreneurs but they were mainly in commerce and not in manufacturing. This suggested the need for the government to participate directly to operate certain basic industries if neither foreign nor local enterprises were prepared to do so.

… The second point recommended the establishment of a nonpolitical EDB with divisions for financing, industrial facilities, projects, technical consulting, services, and promotion. The report recognized that the EDB’s core function should be the promotion of investment and that it should eventually hand over its financing activities to an industrial development bank.

An excerpt from “Lessons from East Asia” by Danny M. Leipziger.

Notably, the Singapore government had accepted the report’s recommendations. On 1 August 1961, the Economic Development Board (EDB) was established as a statutory board to plan and implement strategies for Singapore. The EDB was helmed by Hon Sui Sen, overseeing the industrialisation policies, particularly the development of the Jurong Industrial Estate.

The Jurong Project
The Report concluded that the development of industrial infrastructure was of paramount importance to Singapore’s growth and expansion of its manufacturing sector. Jurong was identified as a viable location for industrialisation, given its flat terrain and proximity to commercial port installations.

Jurong was the only waterfront area in Singapore that “possessed all the necessary conditions for development as an integrated town with the economic base centered around an industrial estate of considerable magnitude“. The Winsemius Report recommended establishing an integrated township that would consist of about 16,000 acres, significantly larger than the 9,000 acres a team of Japanese experts had proposed earlier.

An excerpt from “Infrastructure Strategies in East Asia: The Untold Story” by Ashoka Mody.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Winsemius Report was the fundamental cause of Singapore’s successful industrialisation policies.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about Paths to Economic Development in independent Southeast Asia. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online learning lessons that cover topical review, essay and source based case study skills development.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - When was Acer founded - Asian Tigers Notes

When was Acer founded?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 3: Rise of Asian Tigers from 1970s to 1990s [South Korea and Taiwan]

Retrace the steps and find out how Acer was formed in the 1970s [Video by Acer]

The Origins: MultiTech
In 1976, Stan Shih (施振榮) founded MultiTech with six others, including his wife Carolyn Yeh (葉紫華). The company began its journey as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) by producing video games and distributing electronic imports. In the 1980s, MultiTech expanded its production by involving Amex as its first international distributor.

Multitech… it’s not just another new computer company. It is a leading manufacturer in the computer age, and its Taiwan manufacturing facility is the largest for personal computers. Since 1976, Multitech has been a pioneer in microcomputer technology. Today its products are sold in more than 40 countries. Earning a world-wide reputation for consistent high-quality, Multitech products have captured the loyalty of large OEMs, VARs and distrubtors.

An excerpt from “Multitech – the computer family that carries many famous names” by PC Mag, 13 May 1986.

The Rising Star: Acer
In 1987, MultiTech was renamed to Acer, signifying its entry as a key player in the Personal Computer (PC) industry. Shih capitalised on the low labour costs in Taiwan to accelerate export production. By 1991, more than two-thirds of Acer’s sales were accrued from foreign markets. Although Acer sought to position itself as a full-line PC supplier, about a third of its sales was still derived from OEM in the mid-1990s.

In addition, Acer had the support from the Taiwan government to engage in a joint-project with Texas Instruments (TI) to produce semiconductors in the famed Hsinchu Science Park. Joint ventures proved advantageous as Acer acquired technology to broaden its scope of production and improve quality.

Because technological capabilities were seen as necessary core competence and proximity to sophisticated customers was important to building these capabilities, Acer invested abroad to be near these customers. Initially, Acer penetrated OECD markets in Europe and North America. By 1993, Acer had moved from assembling PCs in Taiwan and Malaysia and shipping to European and US customers to assembling abroad with strict quality standards.

… By 1995, Acer, with a market value of US$2 billion, began to split itself into 21 public companies, listed on stock exchanges around the world, to open the company to foreign investment.

An excerpt from “Multinationals and East Asian Integration” by Wendy Dobson & Chia Siow Yue.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the importance of government intervention in shaping the rise of Acer.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about private businesses in Taiwan as part of the Rise of Asian Tigers topic. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online learning lessons that cover content review and the development of answering techniques for essay and source based case study.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - Why is Hyundai so successful - Asian Tigers Notes

Why is Hyundai so successful?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]: 
Paper 1: Understanding the Global Economy (1945-2000)
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 3: Rise of Asian Tigers from 1970s to 1990s [South Korea and Taiwan]

Learn more about the history of Hyundai to find out how it grown to become a dominant Korean automaker [Video by Hyundai]

Humble beginnings
Chung Ju-yung was born in poverty-stricken family that relied on farming to make a living. After the end of the Second World War, Chung established the Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company (HECC). The HECC began its operations as a civil engineering subcontractor that provided maintenance and repair work in the 1950s.

A turn of events: The Korean War
During the Korean War, the HECC took on projects by the United States Army, enabling it to expand into one of the leading construction companies in South Korea. Furthermore, Chung worked with the Rhee administration to secure construction projects for the development of local infrastructure.

When General Park Chung-hee took over in the 1960s, Chung continued to obtain contracts to entrench Hyundai’s market dominance, such as the development of the Gyeongbu Expressway. Externally, the HECC helped to develop infrastructure in Vietnam and the Middle East, which proved to be a fortuitous time for diversification.

The success of HECC in the construction industry, aided by support from the Park military government, enabled Hyundai to diversify into the automobile and shipbuilding industries and establish the Hyundai Motor Company and Hyundai Heavy Industries in 1967 and 1974.

… This aggressive entry into the Middle East market had important implications for the growth of both HECC and the Hyundai Business Group. It enabled HECC to become an international construction company no longer dependent on its domestic market. Moreover, the rapid expansion of its heavy industrial construction projects created a large internal demand for materials, enabling Hyundai to strengthen its monopoly position in the domestic construction market during the 1970s.

An excerpt from “The Chaebol and Labour in Korea: The Development of Management Strategy in Hyundai” by Seung-Ho Kwon and Michael O’Donnell.

Enter Hyundai Motor
Initially, the Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) forged a joint agreement with the US-based Ford Motor Company. Yet, the lack of consensus over managerial and marketing issues led to the termination of the partnership in the early 1970s. In 1976, HMC developed its first car, the Hyundai Pony, in 1976.

The Hyundai Pony as described by George Turnbull [Video by ThamesTV]

The Hyundai pony was developed with the support of the Mitsubishi Motor Company that sought to expand its market access beyond the shores of Japan. Hyundai was granted a technical licensing agreement, which enabled it to develop its very own nameplate cars.

Additionally, Chung roped in George Turnbull, who was formerly the president of the British Leland – an automotive company. Turnbull assumed the role as vice president of the HMC. In two years, Turnbull oversaw the development of the car production facilities in Ulsan.

By 1976, the new plant was completed and the first cars began rolling off the assembly line. Chung named the new model the Pony, a familiar name to many Koreans who were brought up on American Western movies. The Pony was a 1.2 liter rear-wheel-drive subcompact of modest quality. No market research had been done. Chung and his company had simply designed and built the car they thought the Korean people should have. President Park guaranteed the financing; Hyundai built it. It was Korea’s first national car.

An excerpt from “Made in Korea: Chung Ju Yung and the Rise of Hyundai” by Richard M. Steers.

From mid-1970s onwards, the HMC moved beyond the limited domestic market to the export markets. Alongside other similar automakers like Daewoo and Kia, the HMC increased export production in the 1980s. Hyundai Motors set up a production facility in 1985, which had an annual capacity of 300,000 units. By the mid-1980s, more than half of the total car production was exported, enabling the South Korean economy to benefit from continued current account surpluses by 1989.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the reasons for the rise of Hyundai from the 1970s to 1980s.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about chaebols and other factors relating to the Asian Tigers. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online learning activities to consolidate your content awareness and improve answering skills. Attend our free writing practices to improve your time management and application techniques.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.