NEW DELHI — A nifty new enterprise to discuss security dangers in the Asia-Pacific and evolve a coordinated approach — the Quadrilateral Initiative — has kicked off with an unpublicized first meeting. U.S., Japanese, Indian and Australian officials, at the rank of assistant secretary of state, quietly met recently on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) gathering in Manila.

Given the qualitative reordering of power under way, with Asia boasting the world's fastest-growing economies and fastest-rising military expenditures, it is vital to ensure strategic stability and power equilibrium. The shifts in international power — most conspicuous in Asia — are being spurred by rapid economic growth, not military triumphs.

The rise of any new world power engenders serious challenges, especially when the concerned power is opaque or harbors imperial ambitions. China's emergence as a global player is transforming geopolitics like no other development since the time Japan rose to world-power status in the late 19th century during the Meiji Restoration. Ironically, it had been China's failure to grasp the dramatic rise of Japan that led to its rout in 1895 in the Sino-Japanese War, opening the way to Western imperialistic expeditions into China over the subsequent decades.