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Doubts do not just run one way. China has questions about the intentions of its neighbors, too. Last week, five countries — Japan, Australia, India, Singapore and the United States — held naval war games off the coast of India. While the stated aim of the exercises was to promote cooperation in the fight against piracy and terrorism, Beijing no doubt sees the creation of a group aiming to contain it should the need arise. Just as Beijing must do more to win the trust of its neighbors, those governments must recognize China’s insecurities and work to ensure that they do not create a cycle of mistrust that makes instability and conflict more likely.

The Malabar exercises are a long-running series of bilateral maneuvers between the U.S. and India. This year, three other countries were invited to join training exercises that stretch from India’s east coast to the Strait of Malacca and Singapore. These include some of the world’s busiest waterways: One quarter of all sea-borne oil shipments transit these waters, including 75 percent of China’s oil imports and 60 percent of its foreign trade.

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