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Ukraine crisis highlights new Asian big powers game

In this Pacific century the pendulum of economic power, and the political and military influence it brings, is swinging back towards Asia. But sudden shocks, harder to predict, will intrude on this slow rhythm. The Ukraine crisis is such a moment. Predicted by no-one, Russia's annexation of Crimea -- the first forcible transfer of European territory since 1945 -- and its subsequent destabilization of eastern Ukraine is already setting in motion forces that will be felt far beyond Europe.

     Too little thought has been given to how this will impact Asia. The visit of Russian warships to Australian waters during the recent Brisbane summit of G-20 leaders is only the latest sign that it could be profound. In this context, four broader implications of the Ukraine crisis stand out.

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