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A nation must think before it acts.
In his early months in power, Xi Jinping had been read as signaling a more muscular foreign policy than his predecessor as China’s top leader, Hu Jintao. The recently completed National People’s Congress session completed the formal installation of Xi and the Fifth Generation leadership and also unveiled China’s new foreign policy team, including the elevation of the foreign minister to state councilor and the appointment of a foreign minister with extensive experience on Taiwan, Japan and Asian policy issues. Among the most volatile foreign policy issues that Xi and his team will face are the territorial disputes with Japan (and Taiwan) in the East China Sea and with several states in the South China Sea and related frictions with the United States, which has responded to China’s assertive stance on these maritime territorial disputes with reaffirmed security commitments in the region and calls on China to accept relevant international law and principles of open sea-lanes and peaceful resolution of disputes.
What are the implications and the likely trajectory of these disputes which have been the source of such significant recent international tension? What do they portend for relations among the U.S., China, Japan and other states with claims in the disputed areas, and other states in the region in a time of new leadership in China, a renewed U.S. focus on East Asia and several regional states’ pursuit of closer cooperation with the United States? To explore these questions, we are delighted to feature remarks by four FPRI Senior Fellows – all leading experts on East Asia.