Asia would be wise to hedge its bets on US intentions

Whatever the current state of the US-China trade war, Asia's geopolitics is fast becoming more contentious. Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping may have made some progress towards compromise at the recent G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, but both the substance and timing of next actions remain in doubt, and there's a real risk that Mr Trump, in need of a political win at home, will simply declare victory and walk away without resolving long-term sources of conflict.

In the meantime, Mr Trump's "America First" foreign policy and his willingness to take trade action against US allies in the region, even as he picks new fights with Beijing, have created more space for an increasingly ambitious China to expand its commercial and political influence.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2018, with the headline 'Asia would be wise to hedge its bets on US intentions'. Print Edition | Subscribe