Southeast Asian Summit Pits Japan Against China

Japan

Tensions between China and Japan for economic control over Southeast Asia have been brought to the forefront as the region’s leaders meet at an economic summit, Bloomberg reports.

The economic value of Southeast Asia is certainly not to be disputed; with Japan and China bordering the region, and emerging countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Myanmar with their economic resources up for grabs, there is certainly a lot at stake. The question has become not so much to assess the value of the region, but rather to attempt to sway its leader via diplomacy. This has exactly been the primary purpose of visits by the Chinese and Japanese heads of state to nations in the region over the course of the past year.

Another bone of contention among countries in the area are ties with the United States. With the U.S. acting as a major trading partner for the region, as well as for China and Japan, everyone is haggling to get their piece of the American pie. For the U.S., however, the issue is not so much one of competition but one of trying to to tear down overall barriers to trade. Talks to create the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade network between the U.S. and the Pacific Rim, are currently scheduled to proceed over the coming months.