Asia Pacific

A Convocation of Spies

Over the past weekend, major global media outlets revealed that the heads of intelligence of about two dozen countries held a (formerly) secret meeting...

At G-7 Summit, Containment of China Goes Global

The leaders of the G-7 countries met last week in Hiroshima for their annual summit. The club includes the West’s most advanced economies (Canada,...

The Next Phase in the China-US Confrontation

Last week, I wrote about the major expansion of the U.S.-Philippine alliance, Japanese alignment with Taiwan and possible three-way links with South Korea, and...

China’s New Approach in Africa

China is moving away from its landmark Belt and Road Initiative in favor of smaller direct investments in strategic projects like renewable power and...

Shifts in the Western Pacific

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. visited Washington last week, where he signed what is essentially a collective defense agreement. In doing so, he sealed...

Chinese-Philippine Confrontation

The Philippine coast guard reported last week that two of its ships were involved in a confrontation with the Chinese navy in the South...

Kazakhstan: Democratization in an Era of Geopolitical Churn

At a time of geopolitical uncertainty across Eurasia, Kazakhstan is undergoing a political evolution. The country’s transition away from authoritarianism is a rather unique...

China and Russia

There has been a great deal of discussion about Chinese military aid to Russia. The United States warned Beijing against sending such aid, and...

The Ukraine War, One Year In

It’s been a year since Russia invaded Ukraine, and what many believed would be a short-lived conflict rages on. That’s not to say it’s...

Bolivia Looks to China to Develop Its Lithium

The green energy transition is driving a global race for lithium. Countries sitting on large deposits of “white gold” suddenly find themselves with an...

The Limits of India’s Maritime Capabilities

Perhaps the most important dynamic to follow as the U.S.-China competition intensifies is U.S.-India cooperation. Beijing certainly realizes as much and understands further that...

Mysterious Balloons

The relationship between nations is always complex and sometimes difficult to understand. Sometimes it enters the realm of the bizarre. And then, at the...

On the Leaks of a War With China

Over the past few days, two senior U.S. officials – Gen. Mike Minihan, the head of the U.S. Air Force Mobility Command, and Michael...

Forecast for 2023

Our 2023 Annual Forecast, like those before it, is an attempt to provide a sense of the direction of the world. We do this...

China in Afghanistan: Rare Opportunity or Poisoned Chalice?

The foreign ministers of China and Afghanistan spoke for nearly an hour on Jan. 22 about Afghanistan’s economic development and ensuring the security of...

In Latin America, Japan Serves the US, and Itself

The rivalry between the United States and China is complicated, to say the least. Washington and Beijing are two of the world’s largest economic...

Don’t Forget About Water in 2023

On Jan. 16, the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources announced that Beijing invested more than 1 trillion yuan ($148 billion) on water resource management...

China and the Philippines

Last week, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. visited President Xi Jinping in China, where they agreed to cooperate in peace and security operations and...

Trends That Will Define the Coming Years

The world is always changing, but some changes are more important than others. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will likely be remembered as the start...

China’s Borderland Problems

Protests erupted in Mongolia more than a week ago, culminating in an attempt by demonstrators to storm the State Palace on Dec. 8. Standing...

Latest Posts

East Asia is the world’s most dynamic economic region. Since the early 1980s, annual trans-Pacific trade has outpaced trans-Atlantic trade.

The center of gravity in East Asia is the relationship between the two countries with the region’s largest economies and strongest militaries – China and Japan – and their individual and collective relationships with the United States.

The key to this relationship is China’s internal economic and domestic political situation. When China is unified and strong, as it is at the moment, its influence in the Asian mainland is pervasive, with the peripheral states in southeast Asia looking to Japan and the United States for balance. When China goes through a fragmentary phase, as it did from the mid-19th century until the communists took power in 1949, the peripheral states can at times assert themselves.

Despite some saber-rattling in the South China Sea, East Asia’s challenges in recent years have had more to do with economics than with aggression. But it is important to keep in mind that the last 30 or so years in Asia have been something of an aberration. For most of the 20th century, East Asia was rife with instability and war.

U.S. strategy in East Asia is two-fold. On one hand, the U.S. seeks to maintain a balance of power between Japan and China. On the other hand, the U.S. employs a maritime strategy whereby it cultivates close relationships with island nations in the western Pacific to maintain its control over trade routes and contain the Chinese on the mainland.

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Required Reads: Asia Pacific

From our Forecast...

China will avoid intense involvement in international affairs. Where it does engage, it will do so economically rather than militarily.

Asia Pacific in our Memos

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Latest Posts

Daily Memo: Moscow Points the Blame at Kyiv, Brussels Looks for Migrant Deal

Blaming Kyiv. Russia’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday blamed a Ukrainian sabotage group for the destruction of an ammonia pipeline in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on...

Turkey’s Populist Divide

Since Recep Tayyip Erdogan rose to power two decades ago, Turkey has witnessed a surge in populism, driven more recently by the country’s political...

Daily Memo: US Seeks to Repair Ties With Saudi Arabia

Blinken’s Saudi visit. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on day two of a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia focused on boosting U.S....

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