The states of the Pacific, island and littoral, display dramatically varying political institutions and ideologies. On the marches of the Pacific, an emperor reigns in Japan, Thailand and Cambodia enthrone kings with a semi-divine status, Malaysia has a rotating monarchy; in Tonga, too, a crowned head of state rules. In Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, as well as several island nations, the Westminster system of government represents a British imperial legacy. The People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Vietnam and Laos espouse a Marxist ideology. The United States forms a federal republic, with most of the Central and Latin American states unitary presidential republics. France, the United States, New Zealand and Australia administer non-contiguous territories in Oceania. Such diversity results from centuries of change during which indigenous forms of politics were challenged by colonialism, reacted to it, and eventually blended with ideas and institutions from outside.
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