John Kerry brings home some successes from his just-concluded fifth visit to East Asia as Secretary of State—this time around to Seoul, Beijing and Jakarta. But the biggest takeaway from his visit is that the US can expect tough times ahead as it seeks to promote its interests in a region where history continues to divide potential partners against common threats and fuel regional insecurity.

In South Korea, with the region bracing for potential new missile and nuclear tests from the North, Kerry...

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The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
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