Barack Obama win to sustain Asia pivot as wars fade and post-US election reality sets in

Obama-Clinton

Two years ago, Clinton announced the US national interest in the peaceful resolution of South China Sea. That step irked Beijing, and managing those diplomatic tensions will be of growing importance in the second term. Washington supports efforts by Southeast Asian nations to negotiate collectively with China on the disputes, but China remains reluctant to play ball.

A strident nationalistic tone in China's state rhetoric in its dispute with Japan has fueled concerns that the Communist Party could increasingly resort to such patriotic appeals if China's juggernaut economy slows and public dissatisfaction with the party grows further.

Obama has attempted a balancing act in relations with Beijing, seeking deeper ties and encouraging it to play by international norms to ward off the possibility of confrontation, but also stepping up trade complaints in an effort to protect the interests of US companies.

His second term is likely to see more attention on economic ties with Asia. The US will be looking to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-nation regional trade pact that excludes China. In a time of bitter partisanship in Washington, that could be an issue where Obama finds common cause with Republicans.

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