Inspired as it were from the various pundits offerings of predictions I have elected to offer my own. My offerings are coming via the sphere model.
Although this sphere looks at Asia in its entirety not just China it gets its name secondary to the undeniable central character.
China will continue its international moves which are all connected to their devotion to the manufacturing export model that is their economy. Their westward move inland is as much a response to the US Pacific Pivot as it is the pursuit of emerging markets and growth as well as securing resources ranging from gas to rare earths water to oil. One could also make a case that they are aware of the race to escape the pollution and ecological ruin they have created. Indeed it could be said China for a myriad of reasons are heeding Horace Greeley and “go west”!
China is not leaving the east though. There will be continued tensions as the neighbors including Vietnam,Japan,India,Australia and the Philippines all stand up for their rights centered upon trade and natural resources let alone good old fashioned pride. The staple for the Far East Arms Race and yet another reason other nations will have a focus here like the dawn of the 20th Century.
Vietnam is an interesting country. It is asserting itself with independent flair on the international scene pitting old foes against one another and establishing relations with two nations that fought its creation. Vietnam has been a focus of the US especially the US Navy for a few years now and the Pacific Pivot has put the harbor market on high heat. The Vietnamese for their part are open to anyone coming and paying as evidenced by talks with the Russians. It is not beyond the pale to think soon Russian and US Pacific fleet ships will be anchored near one another. What is missing here is that the Vietnamese are forging relations that have at their heart protection from China . This is a reality even though Vietnam has a mixed bag relationship with China regards trade. On one hand Hanoi is a target for sales but also an emerging alternative to stable cheap manufacturing.
Japan is rising the sun yet again under Abe and for the most part this is a good thing. Showing signs of unashamed nationalism Japan is putting together the pieces it needs to rise from the financial turmoil ashes. Not likely to be a glorious phoenix kind of thing but I have faith that Japan will be asserting itself regionally. Japan will also be keeping an eye on its domestic needs as it relates to regional politics. This is something the post war pacifism neutered and helped hurt Japan during the past two major economic meltdowns. Japan will play a number of roles that will matter in Asia.
Indonesia is part of a new economic bloc, the MINT countries. They are the I in Mexico,Indonesia,Nigeria & Turkey. Brought to us by the folks that proposed BRIC (Brazil,Russia,India,China) MINT captures the new risers. Indonesia is populous and industrious and possesses the resources to make it matter. Often put forth as a stable Muslim nation-state the economic potential of the country will make it a hot spot.
North Korea is actually a potential positive for the rest of the world for the same reason they are a major pain in the ass. If North Korea continues its insanity I can’t help but think Beijing lays the smack down on them. China has recently viewed this pariah as a pain in the ass former friend. The economics are not so important that Beijing can’t whack Kimmie v 3 if he continues his idiocy. The world would surely appreciate it and if you like conspiracy politics what a mitigating scenario. China may eventually sink a Japanese vessel but “Hey kookie we smack Kimmie for good of the world”.
South Korea will keep plugging along as an important economic engine.
India,the sub-continent of lore will round out this list. One of if not the regional balancing act/player. Whether India proves to be the counter or complicator of the other major regional player,China, is yet to be seen. Clearly India will continue to be the mixed up state of affairs that it is. Raped girls and starving kids but lets go to the moon. Caste system still alive and kicking at home with bizarro outrage when one of their 1% ‘ers gets pinched for it in NYC shows how they are silly pygmies in big boy pants. A nation with nukes and an evolving “blue water” navy India is a power player that has borders with three hot spots of the future and will figure in them for sure.