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Trump's threatened trade war with China is a case in point.Confronting China will require allies; Trump's approach will only leave the U.S. more isolated.China is the economic heart of Southeast Asia, accounting for 21 percent of the region's exports in 2015 .Compare these numbers to Southeast Asia's trade with the U.S., Europe, and Japan: in 2015, imports from these economies accounted for over 25 percent of the region's total – only slightly more than China's share.For Australia, which counts China as its most important trade partner, the share is 28 percent, compared to just 7 percent for the U.S., Australia's third-largest export market.Seven of the 11 countries that signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership – the Obama-era initiative to expand trade with Asia that Trump rejected during his first month in office – are now participating in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, China's rival trade pact.Australia is a good example of a U.S. ally whose leaders share America's concerns about China's rising power but also understand the economic imperative of staying in China's graces.
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