The US presidential elections will be watched in Asia for further clues of how the American focus on Asia will manifest in practice over the next four years. Understanding how different Asian states respond according to their own circumstances will keep the next US administration very busy indeed.
Potential exploitation of the energy reserves has transformed the Ryukyu island chain issue into a flashpoint for nationalist sensitivities in Japan and China. In the context of leadership transitions in China and possibly Japan, this could escalate into a significant regional issue.
Burma's tentative steps towards democracy and human rights reforms are being rewarded with re-engagement by the West, exemplified most recently by the visit of David Cameron. It vindicates the East's structured engagement, providing a massive boost to the ASEAN group of countries.