Under the protective US umbrella, the Asia-Pacific has emerged as the epicentre of global economic growth. As the focus shifts to this dynamic and complex region, The International Spectator is devoting this special issue to examining some of the region’s current trends. Two main themes run through the issue. The first is US-China relations and the question of China’s growing military expenditure. China’s rise has provided the neighbouring countries with great economic opportunities, but also with ominous strategic challenges as Beijing’s defence modernisation alters the security perceptions in the region and leads the US and its Asian allies, as well as Russia and India, to reassess their threat perceptions and defence strategies to varying degrees. This leads to the second theme of the issue: the other key players in the region. Attention is centred on the foreign and security policy of those countries in which recent elections have brought new leaders to power (Kevin Rudd in Australia, Lee Myong-bak in South Korea, Ma Ying-jeou in Taiwan, Dmitry Medvedev in Russia), and the strategic thinking of the new leaderships toward the region’s changing power balance.