It seems that sitting on the fence will no longer do. China's powerful rise has drawn the lines Asia-Pacific nations thought they would never have to cross. They did not want to choose sides, aspiring for friendly relations and good business with America and China.
The interview Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave to the British government broadcaster last Wednesday is an example of that. He feared that if relations between Washington and Beijing became "very difficult" Singapore "would be coerced (sic) to choose" alliances. For him, that was "a real worry."
His late father, the legendary Lee Kuan Yew, saw that coming when he told – in 2005 – a German newsmagazine that "the only (Asian) country that's openly on America's side is Japan. All the others are either neutral or friendly to China."
So, after all these years since Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's famously candid talk, the U.S. has a military alliance with Japan and a $450 billion trade deficit – two-thirds of its total trade gap – with a region that is home to nearly two-thirds of humanity, accounts for 40 percent of the world economy and is by far the fastest growing segment of global demand and output. China takes more than three-quarters of Asia's trade surplus with America.