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The new East Asian jigsaw: 2019 will offer clearer picture of how US-China power struggle has reshaped region

If 2018 was the year of unscrambling, the next year will offer a clearer picture of how the US-China power struggle has reshaped the region, with Taiwan being a potential flashpoint

In 2018 all the big pieces in the East Asian international order were thrown up in the air. The US-China economic relationship was transformed by a trade war, their strategic relationship became one of open and declared rivalry; Korean affairs took off on a new and quite unpredictable trajectory; Taiwan edged back towards a central place in regional geopolitics; and countries throughout Asia found themselves facing tougher and tougher choices between Washington and Beijing.

So 2019 will be a big year, as we see where all these pieces land.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2018, with the headline 'The new East Asian jigsaw'. Print Edition | Subscribe