A Chinese flag flutters in front of a construction site in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, November 7, 2014.
Alex Lee / Courtesy Reuters

China is back. Nearly two centuries after it lost its traditional place at the center of Asian affairs, Beijing has begun giving shape and substance to its renewed leadership on the regional stage.

This was on full display at the recently concluded meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, a grouping of 21 economies from both sides of the Pacific. As this year’s host, Beijing not only rolled out the red carpet for leaders from the rest of the region, it also announced a series of major initiatives designed to place China at the center of Asia’s economic

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