The leading power here is China, with the world’s biggest population and second-largest economy, which is now striving to establish its hegemony throughout the Pacific Rim. Taiwan, South and North Korea, and Japan are all groping for ways to resist Chinese expansion while maintaining strong economic ties with the region’s colossus.
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Relevance beyond the crisis: The impact on East Asia
The COVID-19 crisis has reduced China’s clout and the economic damage it has done could force Beijing to pull back from many of its overseas commitments. Many states will look to diversify their economies away from dependence on the aspiring regional hegemon. It could provide an opportunity for Japan, which could step into the vacuum as an influential regional power and investment destination for high-tech industries.