Chinese and Vietnamese vessels have reportedly faced off in the disputed waters of the energy-rich Vanguard Bank, ending a five-year spell of relative peace in the region.
U.S. defense firms -- as well as others farther afield -- could soon find their access to rare earths barred as Beijing's takes a harder line on Washington's support for Taiwan.
Internal splintering, a slowing economy and dismal approval ratings stand in the way of the new government's long-term political success.
A strong electoral performance would give the Shinzo Abe the green light to pursue his more controversial domestic policies. But Tokyo's U.S. alliance will continue to hinder the Japanese leader's success abroad.
With candidates expressing sharp differences about relations with China, the outcome of January's presidential and legislative elections will affect Taipei's ties with Beijing and the U.S. for years to come.
The success of the protests against the extradition bill will largely depend on how the movement evolves in the days ahead, as well as the reactions of China and the U.S.
With his allies in the legislature scoring big in midterm elections, the Philippine leader is well placed to continue beating a path to Beijing's door.
In seeking to check Beijing's rise, Tokyo is pursuing closer links with its wider region -- thereby offering smaller countries a choice apart from overbearing U.S. or Chinese influence.