In early October, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivered a remarkable broadside against China — one that could be remembered as an inflection point in the world’s most consequential bilateral relationship. Asian capitals, including Tokyo, had better take a close look at it.

Speaking at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, Pence slammed China with a laundry list of grievances: Beijing’s militarization of the South China Sea, intellectual property theft, engaging in economic statecraft with neighboring countries, persecuting religious groups at home, the creation of a nationwide surveillance system, pressuring Hollywood to produce pro-China movies, meddling in the U.S. midterm elections — the list goes on.

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