East Asia

Nowhere is the struggle for power more apparent than in East Asia. Nowhere is it more necessary to know the likely outcome.

Sudden uncertainty over US policy has exposed geopolitical fault lines in the world's most economically dynamic region.  

The election of Donald Trump has turned the US presence in the region from a guarantor of order to a source of fear and instability. Regional powers are responding in unpredictable ways.

North Korea advances towards nuclear-armed ballistic missile capabilities, defying Trump's veiled threat of a pre-emptive US strike. In Seoul, the idea that South Korea should develop nuclear weapons of its own has become mainstream. And Tokyo fears abandonment by its military ally, but some see an opening for Japan to exercise regional leadership.

  • How much of a threat does North Korea pose?
  • Will the Taiwan Strait re-emerge as a geopolitical flashpoint?
  • Can Tokyo and Seoul patch up their differences and unite against common threats from North Korea and China?
  • Can Japan form alliances with other Asia-Pacific powers, or will the region's democracies turn to China-led regional initiatives?


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