With both China and the United States jockeying for position, nearly every geopolitical challenge facing Asia will be exacerbated by this new phase of great power competition.

This article is part of the series — What to Expect from International Relations in 2021.


As the world enters 2021, the global balance of power is in a state of flux. Chinese officials believe the world is undergoing “profound changes of a kind unseen in 100 years” — something only accelerated by the “once-in-a-century pandemic.” In China, this rare convergence is seen as an opportunity to remake the balance of power in Beijing’s favour; for the United States, it’s a warning siren signaling declining influence. With both China and the United States jockeying for position, nearly every geopolitical challenge facing Asia will be exacerbated by this new phase of great power competition.

Some of the region’s most pressing flashpoints directly…

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