At the helm in the Pacific

In the next ten years the Pacific Ocean and the rim states will be the economic center of the world and, perhaps, of politics as well. The shift of wealth from the West to Asia suggests as much. The Asian tigers are too close to the Pacific and it is not by chance that President Barack Obama has strengthened ties with Australia, declaring the United States a Pacific power.  Japanese leverage on the Pacific is blurred by a low economic growth rate and a huge public expenditure. The Fukushima disaster has contributed to Tokyo’s loss of power. In spite of the difficulties, Japan has started to recover. Moreover, the region faces directly onto the Pacific Ocean, where there are many security concerns. The most important is the succession in North Korea and the future of the nuclear issue managed by Kim Jong-un. The death of his father Kim Jong-il was worrying for the US, which has a strong ally in South Korea. What is unclear in the area is the role of Australia. Over the course of the coming decades, the Pacific region will be one of the most important areas in the world. For the world powers it is important to improve ties with rim countries and to maintain leverage on economic and political affairs.