Obama 2nd term to sustain Asia pivot
China is already acting with growing assertiveness in the seas of East Asia.
Its territorial dispute over islands administered by U.S. treaty ally Japan could trigger a military confrontation between Asia's two biggest economies. This year, China has already faced down the Philippines over sovereignty of a reef in the South China Sea, where the competition among China and its neighbors for fish and potential underwater
oil and gas reserves could also sow seeds of conflict.
Two years ago, Clinton announced the U.S. national interest in the peaceful resolution of South China Sea. That step irked Beijing, and managing those diplomatic tensions will be of growing importance in the second term. Washington supports efforts by Southeast Asian nations to negotiate collectively with China on the disputes, but China remains reluctant to play ball.
A strident nationalistic tone in China's state rhetoric in its dispute with Japan has fueled concerns that the Communist Party could increasingly resort to such patriotic appeals if China's juggernaut economy slows and public dissatisfaction with the party grows further.
Obama has attempted a balancing act in relations with Beijing, seeking deeper ties and encouraging it to play by international norms to ward off the possibility of confrontation, but also stepping up trade complaints in an effort to protect the interests of U.S. companies.
His second term is likely to see more
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