In Asia, Confusion About U.S. Priorities Threatens Goals of Pivot

South Korean President Park Geun-hye shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting, Beijing, China, Nov 11, 2014 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).
South Korean President Park Geun-hye shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting, Beijing, China, Nov 11, 2014 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).
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I had the opportunity to spend the past week in China and South Korea discussing various issues related to U.S. policy toward Asia with government representatives, academics and think tank counterparts. In general, I found that some previously hot-topic issues had decreased in salience, even as there remains confusion over U.S. President Barack Obama’s strategic and tactical priorities in the region during his remaining two years in office. One takeaway in particular seemed strikingly clear: The next U.S. president, whether Democrat or Republican, will need to take early action to dispel the misperception that Washington is either unwilling to defend […]

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