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PacNet #5 – Comparative Connections Summaries

January 15, 2013

It was deja vu all over again on the Korean Peninsula as the absence of bad news ended when Pyongyang again defied the international community by conducting another missile launch. ASEAN leaders at the round of summits in Phnom Penh managed to demonstrate greater unity than during their July ministerial, but there were no signs the territorial disputes in the South China Sea were closer to resolution. Hopes for genuine reform in Burma (Myanmar) soared as President Obama paid a visit while in the region for the East Asia Summit. Meanwhile, leadership changes were the order of the day in the North Pacific. The Liberal Democratic Party’s return to power in Japan amidst a nationalistic campaign promised to strain relations with the new leadership in South Korea and China, and perhaps with the new leadership team in Washington as well. The year closed with a flurry of trade meetings and initiatives designed to capture the energy of the world’s most dynamic economies.