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Japan offers Southeast Asia way out of US-China rivalry

As a major regional investor and security partner, Tokyo is stepping up

| Japan
Japan is the top foreign partner in Duterte's ambitious $180 billion "build, build, build" infrastructure program.   © Reuters

Asian geopolitics is often reduced to great-power rivalry between the U.S. and China. This is especially the case in Southeast Asia, where regional leaders have repeatedly expressed their unwillingness to choose between the two.

What is often missed in this binary perspective, however, is the critical role of Japan, not only as a major economic player but also, now, a security provider.

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