The contest to define the future shape of Asia came into clearer focus during a regional summit in Thailand, reports The Wall Street Journal.
According to the newspaper, competing visions for the Asian trade bloc were presented during the weekend talks. China is keen to build on its already-strong relationships in Southeast Asia, while Japan is eager to bring additional players to the table, including India, Australia and New Zealand.
The Journal says that Japan has been calling for what it calls an East Asian Community that could ultimately have its own currency. But the concept of an East Asia trade bloc has been debated about for years. It was first proposed in the 1980s by Malaysia.
Meanwhile, the proposals for better integrating the region and reducing its traditional dependence on the U.S. have caused concerns in Washington, where government officials state it isn't in the U.S.'s interests to be sidelined as Asian countries cement their economic ties, says the Journal.