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Robert Gates was in Japan last week, and China and Japan (and Korea and Australia and India) were at ASEAN together. Those two little news items tell you everything you need to know about the future.

In a diplomatic scuffle that threatens to reshape the U.S and Japan's warm relationship, the newly-elected Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has delayed agreement on a troop accord with the U.S. The decision flies in the face of U.S. Defense Sec. Robert Gates, who has urged Japan to follow through on the agreement to reduce the number of American troops in Okinawa. Japanese officials want to move more troops off the island. Why? The political climate is changing in Japan, with the current ruling party swept to power promising less subservience to American interests.


HUA HIN, Thailand, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was obviously more than delighted that he has been able to earn respect for China among its Asian neighbors at ASEAN-related summits.

Wen proposed strengthening regional cooperation among the ASEAN Plus Three dialogue partners to combat the global financial turmoil and the economic downturn, and made a number of pledges to increase China's support for the ASEAN countries, including raising the preferential part of a 15- billion-U.S.-dollar commercial credit by 5 billion dollars to hit 6.7 billion dollars.

China and ASEAN are set to launch the China-ASEAN free trade area on Jan. 1, 2010. It will cover a population of 1.9 billion and boast a combined gross domestic product close to 6 trillion dollars.

by asdf on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 02:45:49 PM EST

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