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so it does not have to be dependent solely on Chinese demand (as unlikely as that is to be satiated anytime soon). However, Russia’s motivations are partly military as well. Some observers hypothesized a connection between large-scale snap military inspections in Russia’s Far East and five Chinese naval vessels passing into the Sea of Okhotsk in July 2013. Last September, around the same time U.S. President Barack Obama visited Alaska, five Chinese naval vessels were spotted in the Bering Sea between Russia and Alaska for the first time. Russo-Japanese cooperation in the Arctic is a region to keep an eye on, as there seems to be abundant possibility for international cooperation here – even as Russia’s diplomatic isolation continues.
Asian Leadership / Regionalism China and Japan compete for regional influence – Japan would reject anything that tipped the balance toward ChinaMazza 15, (Michael, research fellow in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute "China and Japan's Battle for Influence in Southeast Asia,"10-5-2015, National Interest, RB)On his inaugural visit to Southeast Asia as president of China, Xi Jinping announced  a plan to build a “maritime silk road.”In November of the following year, the Chinese government established  the Silk Road Fund, and contributed an initial $40 billion,which will be used to invest in both overland transportation infrastructure and in “expanding ports and industrial parks in Asia, the Mideast, Africa, and Europe.” Given Southeast Asia’s market size, economic potential, and location, it is a key link in China’s maritime silk road plans. Earlier this year, with significant international participation, China established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank or AIIB. The bank  “will focus on the development of infrastructure and other productive sectors in Asia, including energy and power, transportation and telecommunications, rural infrastructure and agriculture development,” among otherareas. Much of Southeast Asia is in need of such investment, and countries in the region may be first in line for loans when the bank formally opens it doors. Both the maritime silk road and the AIIB are aimed at tying China’s economy more closely to those of its neighbors. China here aims not only to accrue economic benefits, but to expand its economic penetration of Southeast Asia, with associated increases in influence and power. Such is a potentially troubling outcome, both for Southeast Asians—who desire stronger economic ties with China, but would rather not find themselves under Beijing’s thumb—and forexternal powers, including the United States, that have interests in the region. Although these developments have caused some heartburn in Washington and among U.S. allies, at least one of those allies has refused to sit still. Indeed, Japan, which is an important source of foreign direct investment for Southeast Asia, has long had ambitious plans for infrastructure investment in the region. Tokyo is acting