Open Forum

This has been a busy time in Washington with little clarity about US policies, as the Trump administration takes shape, Sino-US relations take center stage, and North Korea’s threat to the United States galvanizes responses reflecting views in many countries. In late April—after the Trump-Xi summit, Pence’s trip to the region, and the Tillerson visit to Moscow—views on Northeast Asia changed rapidly. Japan has slipped to the sidelines. Security has overshadowed trade. Triangles have risen in salience. Sino-US relations are now focused on North Korea. Japan-Russia relations seem to be on hold as US policy toward both countries awaits clarification. US maneuvering to influence Sino-Russian relations keeps defying expectations. The Sino-ROK-US triangle is also on hold as observers see what unfolds in the South Korean elections. For the moment, the US-Japan-ROK triangle has been left in the shadows in DC seminars, but this is unlikely to last.

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