By David B. H. Denoon (auth.)

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Yet, APEC’s goals (of free trade and investment flows within Asia) cannot be achieved by discussions among Asian states or those on the Pacific littoral. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only venue where brokerage over trading rules can encompass European, American, and Asian interests. APEC is thus increasingly becoming a formality. What is happening within Asia is a competition for access to the Chinese and Japanese markets. China has offered a free trade agreement (FTA) to link its market with all of ASEAN and has gotten agreement from the ASEAN states by opening its market first and not expecting full reciprocity from the Southeast Asian states.

70 China has essential advantages: size, geography, a surging market attractive to exporters and investors, and, recently, skillful diplomacy. 5 for GDP comparisons of the major Asian powers. Also, China’s leadership is not seriously constrained by public opinion and is quite willing to intervene internationally if it advances China’s interests. Russia’s reduced strategic role reflects the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent economic decline and internal turmoil. It is also worth noting that Russia experienced a serious financial crisis in 1998, similar to the East Asian collapse in 1997.

56 President Clinton gradually gave up his emphasis on nonproliferation and had a very successful weeklong visit to India in 2000. The George W. Bush administration came into office determined to have a closer working relationship with India. S. operations in Afghanistan made it possible for the United States to develop closer relations with both India and Pakistan from 2002 onward. 57 More importantly, the July 18, 2005, agreement between President Bush and the Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh, to facilitate cooperation between the United States and India on civilian nuclear technology, is an explicit acknowledgment that the Bush administration accepts India as a friendly nuclear state.

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