The most important factor determining the structure of East Asia will continue to be the strategic relationship between the USA and China. It is the key component of the six party talks on the North Korean problem as well as nuclear nonproliferation. Japan is obviously a lesser strategic player, which is in a position to encourage middle-power security cooperation among the East Asian countries breathing between the USA and China. There is a conceptual, if not geopolitical, competition between Japan and China over an ideal future of East Asian regionalism, which the East Asian countries and the USA should join in a constructive manner.
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