OBIC Books of Abstracts

The Books of Abstract are published for the annual OBIC International Conferences. The works include the abstracts of participating researchers', experts' and presenters' submitted papers.

You can read more about OBIC's international conferences here

The world has just started to wake up from the social and economic shock the Covid-19 pandemic caused, but instead of a gradual recovery and reconciliation, our world faces new challenges in the form of soaring energy and transportation prices, galloping inflation, and new conflicts, should they be military confrontations or "just" political and diplomatic tensions.

While it was well known that the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the international supply and value chains, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, tensions around the Taiwan strait, and rivalization for the Arctic areas seem to be a kind of introduction to a new cold war in the world. In such a political environment, the trends of globalization, moreover the criteria of the investment-friendly economic environment, have to be revised. The importance of the local and regional solutions come into the forefront, new—shorter, safer, and less costly—supply chains have to be developed. In general, both in business and society, the local, energy-saving solutions will gain importance. Therefore, especially in the case of energy-importer countries, such as many of the Asian and European economies, this will be the way of the future. However, the way and the cost of such a realignment can be different from country to country. The increasing use of renewable energy sources, the progress in digitalization, and social awareness may give us hope that Asian countries will be able to give successful and beneficial responses to these challenges, such as the development of smart cities and focusing increasingly on the locally available human and natural resources.

The world has entered an age of new challenges and turmoil since 2020. Asia and the rest of the world have not even overcome the pandemic of coronavirus, but its global consequences are visible in the spring of 2022: disrupted global supply and value chains, energy crisis, soaring inflation, and the crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict project comprehensive changes in the world. These changes may result in the growing importance of emerging economies, especially in the Euro-Asian continent. The role and importance of Russia - as the largest country in terms of geography and one of the biggest exporters of crude oil, natural gas, and a range of other essentially important minerals for the advanced industries - will come to the forefront. China, especially in case of persistent and long-lasting trade sanctions of the Western world being imposed on Russia, can benefit from the situation as the Chinese industry is badly dependent on energy and other natural inputs. Beyond China, India and other Asian countries might be importers as well. This means that the world in terms of trade and economy, moreover, even in terms of political and military power might be more diverse than it was in the three decades of the post-Cold War period. While we witness the mentioned, multifaceted phenomena and changes, we still need to keep our eyes on our planet, as we need to protect it and preserve it for the upcoming generations of humanity.

The global pandemic in 2020 and 2021 vividly demonstrated the importance of digitalization, which was a central theme of our OBIC conference this year. Not only digitalization but also the security and foreign policy implications have become clear since the outbreak of the pandemic. Deteriorating US-China relations, rising EU/US-Russia tensions, disruption of global supply chains in the wake of the pandemic, border disputes in the Himalayas are just a few of the seismic events of the past year. During this time, we also learned new words like home office, vaccine hesitancy, lockdown, and wolf- warrior diplomacy or vaccine diplomacy. Some will be forgotten, but some will stay with us, as the last year will remain in our memories as one of the most memorable ones. Like any crisis, this one will give us food for thought for many years to come, and it will be hard to tell whether the changes now emerging have been triggered by the crisis or whether already latent trends have merely escalated. What we can see clearly now is that Asia, especially China, handled the virus through discipline and politics; the economic disaster was controlled by showering people with money in the West. We do not know how the story will end, but Asia seems to be in a better position when it comes to growth and trade in 2020, and the forecasts also see the region in a more favorable position.

During and after the global financial crisis, it became clear that Hungary could not rely solely on cooperation with the West in order to catch up, but it must include cooperation with East Asian countries as well. Moreover, it could be argued that the asymmetric dependence of the Hungarian economy on the West excludes the full freedom of action that is needed for true economic sovereignty, and which is routinely denied to less-developed countries. This economic freedom can only be achieved by building more pillars to support our economic development. This recognition eventually led to the Eastward Opening policy of 2011. The catching-up process is far from finished, and this conference gives us an ideal opportunity to discuss these and other pressing questions, as well as to celebrate several important anniversaries in the diplomatic relations between China and the Visegrad 4 countries, since Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia all established ties with China in 1949. These common anniversaries are outstanding occasions to celebrate these relations and to take another look at the crucial milestones of the development of relations between the Visegrad 4 countries and China. It is similarly important to explore the state of economic and political relations with Japan and South Korea in the ever-shifting political and economic environment that began to take shape in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis (2008-2009).

Improving economic, cultural and higher educational relations between geographically distant countries is never easy. Nevertheless, this generalization does not rule out exceptions, which means that long distances do not necessarily prevent relatively strong contacts. But in order for this to happen, several prerequisites must be met. The first in the line of such prerequisites is the responsibility befalling diplomacy. Supporting bilateral relations at high levels always facilitates the expansion of all forms of international relations. Frequent high level meetings inspire active relationship building endeavors on a lower level as well, e.g. cooperation between chambers of commerce or universities. The second important prerequisite is the existence of shared interests. In the past several decades of bilateral relations between Hungary and East and Southeast Asian countries, we never witnessed such a constellation of common interests as we observe today. However, the third prerequisite is the most difficult one to meet. If we want to capitalize on the opportunities, tremendous amount of work and effort is required. Without putting in this arduous day to day work, the existing opportunities may easily be missed.