As the 1980's began it was apparent an era was ending, the pessimistic but tranquil slump of the 1970's was ending and giving way to a new, more turbulent time. The great powers were violently awakened from their detente in 1979 with the advent of the Iranian and Afghan revolutions, the former leading to the devastating Iran-Iraq War and the latter leading to a long drawn out and disastrous Soviet intervention. Not many were prepared when the instability spread to East Asia however, reigniting the powder keg of the Korean War that had lay dormant for so many decades.
The first tensions on the Korean Peninsula began in early 1980 with the surprise death of long-reigning dictator Kim Il Sung, and his relatively inexperienced son Kim Jong Il's quick ascension to the throne. Kim Jong Il, feeling paranoid about Southern infiltrators and facing growing pressure from the military leadership would subsequently launch a thorough purge of the DPRK government. Crisis erupted in 1981 when the purge uncovered a fairly extensive South-Korean spy ring operating within the DPRK, the northern government immediately detained the infiltrators and demanded the South's surrender in the long dormant Korean War in exchange for the their safe return. Rather than heeding Kim Jung Il's demands, South Korea demanded the return of their espionage agents with the threat of renewed military hostility.
The standoff between the two states became a global crisis when the US and Soviet Union got involved, American president Ronald Reagan proudly stated that any aggression against South Korea would be met with an uncompromising military response, the Soviet Union, dealing with internal strife and a botched intervention in Afghanistan, acted with caution despite their staunch support for North Korea. The stand off would last until February 1982, when an otherwise isolated skirmish on the DMZ escalated into full blown armed conflict between the two Koreas, by March an American-lead NATO coalition intervened in the conflict much in the same way they did in 1950. Unlike the first Korean War however, the western militaries now had access to technology and tactics much different then those utilized in the first Korean War, and as such the strategy used by the US-NATO forces involved extensive bombing of infrastructure and military or leadership complexes as well as various aquatic and aerial landings. During the chaos of the war the People's Republic of China would come into direct conflict with it's rival government in Taiwan, leading to cooling relations with the west.
By June 1986 the last fighting remnants of the DPRK surrendered and the remaining leadership was dissolved. The entire peninsula was brought under direct UN-military rule shortly afterwards and seemingly victorious South Korean despot Park Chung-hee was forced to abdicate. By December 1987 the Korean Fifth Republic was proclaimed and by January 1988 the entire peninsula voted for their first head of state, soon after the then-booming US and Japanese economies began pouring money into the country as the first phase of the "Asian development plan". Later that same year the embarrassed and faltering USSR would experience a KGB-backed coup as communist hardliners seized control of the state from newly appointed "progressive reformer" Mikhail Gorbachev.
Despite the best efforts of the new Soviet regime to stabilize Russia's position on the world stage the 1989 oil crash decimated the Soviet economy and if not for the desperate and brutal measures taken by the Soviet leadership, would have thrown the country into free fall. In 1990 Saddam's Iraq would invade Kuwait for the same reasons as our timeline, the USSR was quick to deploy troops into the Gulf and aid their ally Iraq, this had the effect of escalating the conflict into full blown war between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. By 1994 Saudi Arabia and Iraq finally agreed to a peace treaty on terms that Iraq be allowed to annexe Kuwait as long as Soviet-Iraqi troops withdraw from occupied Saudi territories. By the mid-1990's the USSR was bankrupted by the Gulf War and it's continued war in Afghanistan while the US and Japanese economies soared to heights previously unimaginable, the people behind the Iron Curtain were starving and facing state suppression not seen since the Stalin-era.
The situation in Eastern Europe reached a boiling point in 1996, when after half a decade of severe abuse the people of the Eastern Bloc collectively rose up against their Russian oppressors and begun what would become the Eastern Revolts. After the rebellion got off of it's feet nations and organizations all around the world found themselves rising to the occasion as a mass influx of weapons, armaments and money entered Eastern Europe. By 2001 the revolution had arguably been a success, the Soviet Union had drastically receded in size as almost all of it's constituent minorities declared themselves sovereign, and in the case of Karelia the majority Russian population opted to join Finland rather in what would become a rather messy debacle. The Warsaw Pact had ceased to exist, in it's place appeared a patchwork of unstable and impoverished states suffering through coups and revolutions on a yearly basis in some cases. This didn't detour the UN from deploying NATO troops in said countries in an attempt to ward off future Soviet aggression, by 2003 Germany had successfully reunited, although with severe economic repercussions and various Eastern European states had joined the European Economic Community.
By the middle-2000's the constant economic upswing in the US and Japan meant that consumer and government technology was lightyears ahead of what OTL was capable of at the time, VR, computing, propulsion, and holographic technology was becoming widespread in westernized society along with limited usage of cybernetic and biological body modifications. Unrest began in mainland China in 2006 due in part to the Chinese masses being exposed to the progress and decadence of the west though illegal internet usage and exposure to Hong Kong and Macau's success, which in this timeline weren't returned to the PRC due to the nation's actions during the Second Korean War, which also had the effect of revoking the western diplomacy and investment that had been built up during the 1970's. In June 2006 Chinese students, workers, and other activists took to the streets of Southern China and began a "peaceful" revolution, a year later the PRC begrudgingly withdrew the PLA and de facto allowed the region to secede due to their own internal problems, in December 2007 the leadership of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, as well as the leaders of the revolution met in Taipei and negotiated the future of southern China. In January 2009 the constitution was ratified and the Republic of China, a successor state to the Taiwanese ROC, was declared a sovereign nation by the UN.
In 2012, after years of deliberation, the Asiatic Union was declared as a currency and economic union between Japan, Korea, and the ROC, managed by the AU parliamentary commission, three years later in 2015 it would merge with ASEAN, eight years later in 2023 North and South China would reunite after the liquidation of the CCP a year prior, bringing the entirety of East Asia into the sphere of AU-Japanese hegemony. The 2010's would see Asia become the new leader of the world in terms of human development, economic influence and cultural influence, the status of who was the new world hegemon would be symbolically illustrated during the second wave of moon landings in 2016-2019, which were carried out privately by Japanese corporations, the US however would begin to see it's sharp decline in this era.
In the years prior to the Chinese reunification, the United States would see a mass exodus of blue-collar jobs into Latin America as "the economic climate of our southern allies grows and stabilizes", this combined with the already creeping force of automation caused massive job-loss in the US and triggered the "silent depression", named so because on paper the American economy was technically growing. In 2025 the West followed the example set for them by Asia and officially ratified Americomm, an agreement that would create a currency union between the US, Canada, Quebec, and Mexico, as well as establish a free-trade-zone spanning the entire Western Hemisphere.
Despite the growing poverty in North America and the organized crime epidemic in South America, neon megacities would continue pop up in both respective continents built almost solely off of AU investment in some cases, by 2029-2030 the United States would finally fully relinquish it's claim to superpower status with the breakup of NATO into the European, Asian, and American military coalitions, each effectively being a confederation of private military companies.
 The situation in South Korea in the late 1970's was much more stable then in OTL and as a result Park Chung-hee was never assassinated.
 Perhaps due to circumstances stemming from the renewed Korean-War, the Japanese asset bubble never got as bad as it did in OTL, and as such the Japanese economic miracle continued all throughout the 90's and eventually eclipsed the US economy by the mid-2000's.
 After the failure of the 1980 referendum Quebec was eventually granted quasi-independence in 1991 after the federal government finally gave in to the contestant nagging of Quebec's premiers.