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Nuclear Security Summit

North Korea and friction in the South China Sea complicate Obama's 'rebalance' toward Asia

North Korea and friction in the South China Sea complicate Obama's 'rebalance' toward Asia

Late in his first term, President Obama announced a new emphasis on Asia and the Pacific Rim, a way of pivoting from the morass in the Middle East and focusing on a peaceful, booming region that the first Pacific-born president saw as the future.

He has visited Asia regularly since then — and will return at least twice this year for economic and security summits.

But with notable exceptions, much of the administration's self-proclaimed "rebalance" has been dominated by emergency security matters, including North Korea's defiant nuclear tests, friction with China in the South China Sea, and the growing threat of cyber-espionage and digital theft.

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