Stubbornness over conflicting claims to the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in the East China Sea holds out the prospect of competing maritime patrols and continued tensions, raising the risk of an incident.
Making real sanctions bite would threaten the North Korean regime's stability, and an imploding North Korea could mean refugees flooding across the border, say Chinese scholars.
In a historic moment of coincidence, new leaders are taking the helm in China, Japan, and South Korea, providing an unprecedented moment for the region to refresh relations.
As China endorses a reformer as president and the EU and US plan a free-trade pact, the competition to set trade rules heats up. A EU-US pact would strengthen their economies and send a signal to China to take more responsibility for higher trade standards.
Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng says China's 'Communist Party sits brazenly above the constitution and the law and makes no effort to reform.' But he says 'social progress is inevitable' and that 'the balance of power between officialdom and the people is shifting.'
Chinese Communist Party: As the National People's Congress begins March 5 with a new generation of leaders, the party remains the backbone of power, but it is little-respected by the people, and its paradoxical capitalism would confound Mao.