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Some academics in Southeast Asia and the Pacific are hoping that Japan's new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, will play a leadership role in Indo-Pacific affairs — just as his predecessor Shinzo Abe did — especially at a time when the United States and China are engaged in a "new cold war."

They suggest that Suga's government maintain the economic and maritime cooperation central to regional affairs, rather than primarily focusing on security, so as not to exacerbate U.S.-China tensions heightened over situations in the South China Sea, Hong Kong and most recently in Taiwan.

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