• Kyodo, Reuters


In a bid to fend off concerns about Donald Trump’s commitment to the Asia-Pacific area amid growing Chinese assertiveness — and perhaps shift the incoming U.S. president’s attention to the region — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wrapped up a whirlwind tour Tuesday where he worked to cement ties with key Pacific Rim nations.

Asian nations are cautiously watching whether Trump, with his “America first” rhetoric, will keep the United States focused on the region by strengthening so-called freedom of navigation operations and sending U.S. warships to the contested waters of the South China Sea to counter China’s military buildup, analysts said.

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