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Asia’s Multilateral Balancing Act

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SEOUL – After World War II, Asia emerged from years of conflict and centuries of colonialism. The United States quickly became the main guarantor of regional security, signing bilateral defense treaties and establishing preferential trade and investment relationships with its Asian allies – in particular the Philippines, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Pakistan. In the decades since, Asia has reaped substantial development gains from open trade, investment, and multilateral cooperation, enabling the region to become a leading global trade hub.

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    But recent geostrategic and economic developments have called the post-1945 multilateral order into question, fueling uncertainty in the region. First and foremost, the US under President Donald Trump is retreating from the global stage, and from Asia in particular. What’s more, the US is disengaging at a time when China is challenging not only the territorial........

    © Project Syndicate