In one corner, there is the United States; in the other, China.
The sole superpower trying to maintain its top position versus a dormant giant now increasingly ready to assume what it deems its rightful place in the world.
Or so the popular narrative goes.
It sees both nations vying for influence in the region by binding other countries to them through trade deals: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which the US is a part of, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which China is in.
This impression has been reinforced by rhetoric from both sides.
US President Barack Obama, in championing the TPP, argued that if the US did not take the lead in setting trade rules, other countries would have a chance to set less stringent standards.
When it was signed by its 12 member countries - Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam - the TPP was hailed as a landmark trade deal setting high standards in labour and environmental regulations.| Continue to full article | Published Dec 11. 2016 |