While the coronavirus pandemic has been overturning life as we know it, a familiar confrontation arose in East Asia. China’s establishment of new administrative divisions in contested areas in the South China Sea in late April set off the United States that responded by moving warships in the Taiwan Straits. China’s assertiveness in the area also discomforted Japan and South Korea. Yet, the predictions of the International Monetary Fund are clear: Asia has an advantage in post-crisis recovery, but the region needs to learn to work together. Will insecurity jeopardize the region’s ability to resurge from the pandemic? Can East Asia look at regional organizations as viable frameworks to settle disagreements and make joint plans? To what extent will the regionalization of value chains be feasible, if long-lasting instabilities re-emerge?
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