It is a truism to say East Asia today is at a major turning point, given the rise of China as an economic and military power, the long-term economic downturn in Japan and the waning relative power of the United States. The U.S., long the dominant power in the region, is now squaring off against an increasingly assertive China. The countries caught in the middle are trying to find their own position.
This change in the balance of power in East Asia does more than simply trigger tensions between the U.S. and China themselves. Depending on developments, tensions between those two great powers will have repercussions for the position of other East Asian countries.