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FT: China won’t budge on currency. Project Syndicate: Japan holds the power to reinvent itself. WSJ: Obama lacks a compelling vision for US-Asia relations.

China’s neighbors opt for ‘containment-lite’

Columnist Thomas Friedman writes in the New York Times that China’s neighbors would not go as far as wanting a “containment” policy for China, but there is anxiety about the country’s recent aggressiveness. He argues that China’s neighbors all want the growing power to know that they have deepened their ties with the United States and can use that relationship to their favor if they have to. Friedman calls this ‘containment-lite.’

QUOTE: China for years was being praised by Asian experts for being so shrewd, so clever, so deft, in building cultural and economic ties with all its neighbors — and outmaneuvering the stupid, oafish Americans. But in just six months, China has cast itself in the role of bully and prompted its neighbors to roll out the red carpets for Uncle Sam.

The G20 must not neglect emerging nations

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak writes in the Washington Post that when G20 leaders meet this week they must not allow the needs of the wealthy countries to dominate the needs and concerns of emerging and poorer nations.

QUOTE: In fact, helping the poorest of the poor can contribute to the global rebalancing and growth we seek, instead of being seen as a subsidiary issue.

Four objectives for sustaining global recovery
Timothy Geithner, US treasury secretary, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore finance minister, and Wayne Swan, Australia’s treasurer, write in the Wall Street Journal that a new agenda is needed for international economic cooperation ahead of the G20 Summit. This agenda will be defined by efforts to strengthen global growth, keep the economy balanced, let currencies adjust naturally and avoid protectionism.

QUOTE: We are past the point where public policy around the world was directed exclusively to averting an economic depression. We now face diverse transitions to a sustainable path of growth led by the private sector.

Japan holds the power to reinvent itself

Harvard Professor Joseph S. Nye writes in Project Syndicate that despite Japan’s two decades of slow growth, the country maintains strong power resources and holds the ability to reinvent itself.

QUOTE: It possesses the world’s third largest national economy, sophisticated industries, and the best-equipped conventional military forces among Asian countries.

China won’t budge on currency

Yao Yang, director of the China Centre for Economic Research, Peking University, writes in the Financial Times that China will stand firm as the other G20 leaders attempt to push it towards currency revaluation. Inside China, many blame the currency debate on the United States and its loose monetary policy.

QUOTE: China’s domestic politics are pushing its leaders to take a stern position. Fears over employment are one thing; more serious perhaps are exporters’ lobbying and the will to see a “stronger” China among the populace. The latter prevents China’s leaders from taking steps seen as “yielding” to foreign pressures; the former has real benefits.

US failures fuel China’s conspiracy theories

Yasheng Huang, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, writes in Foreign Policy that President Obama’s skipping of China during his Asia tour reinforces the so-called conspiracy theory among China’s public that the United States wants to contain it.

QUOTE: The United States has not seriously tried to make its case and communicate its views directly to the Chinese public.

Obama lacks a compelling vision for US-Asia relations

Michael Auslin, director of Japan studies at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in the Wall Street Journal that two years into President Obama’s administration, he still has not articulated a compelling vision for the US-Asia relationship of the future. Auslin argues that even Obama’s current trip to Asia lacks the big picture idea of America’s role in Asia’s future.

QUOTE: President Obama's 10-day trip is an uneven amalgam of bilateral outreach and multilateral participation. In neither case is Mr. Obama driving events or providing the type of leadership that many Asians privately say they expect from America.

G20: South Korea’s Coming-Out Party

Donald Kirk writes in GlobalPost that the G20 is a “coming-out party” for South Korea and a chance to show the international community that the country is now a strong economic force.

QUOTE: Undeniably, South Korea’s hosting of the G20 conference symbolizes a historical shift in economic and political power to the world’s emerging market nations.

Arms control treaty would hurt US defense capabilities

John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations, and John Yoo, a former deputy assistant attorney general, write in the New York Times that the US Senate should reject or amend the New Start arms control treaty that President Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev signed because it will hurt US defense capabilities.

QUOTE: New Start’s faults are legion. The low limits it would place on nuclear warheads ignore the enormous disparities between American and Russian global responsibilities and the importance of America’s “nuclear umbrella” in maintaining international security.

Obama’s second speech to the Muslim world connects

National affairs correspondent Tunku Varadarajan writes in the Daily Beast that President Obama’s speech in Indonesia came across strong, unpretentious and “sweetly personal.” What would have been better, he argues, is if Obama had chosen Indonesia and not Cairo as his first speech to the Muslim world.

QUOTE: One wishes that he had stayed longer, and showcased Indonesia to greater effect, introducing the country and its tolerant Muslim ways to America at greater length. Islam is not of the Arab world alone.