Rising tension at each of the three main flashpoints in Northeast Asia is driven by China’s desire for a new China-centered order. China therefore seeks to undermine US cold war-era security commitments, challenge broader US-backed regional governance norms, and subordinate neighbors in order to institute alternative territorial, security, and political arrangements that match Chinese interests and values. Thus, Northeast Asia is polarizing and stability is becoming critically imperiled. The situation has helped to usher in an unprecedented era of US-China great power rivalry that threatens to divide an open and globalizing world into a system of closed regional spheres governed by resident hegemons.
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