In 2017, Washington put “America First” and Pyongyang rattled the nerves of the entire globe with its relentless missile and nuclear tests. Beijing steadily pursued its new-age resurrection of the Silk Road across Asia, by land and by sea, and reanointed its mastermind, Xi Jinping, as “core leader.” India faced off with China on a remote triangle of land in the Himalayas and relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan continued to fester. ASEAN celebrated 50 years in 2017, marking an important milestone, but challenges remain to the bloc’s consensus-driven cooperative mandate.
Carrying over all of the tension and uncertainty left by 2017, with less of 2016’s inertia to maintain the status quo, what will 2018 hold?
Each January, we ask The Diplomat’s authors and a few guests to lay out what to watch for in the next 12 months. This isn’t a game of forecasting the future, but rather the identification of underlying trends and outlining of expectations by astute regional observers. Below, our authors provide an overview of what to watch for in the Asia-Pacific in 2018.