The universal expectation is a different tone under President Obama.
Among the challenges, North Korea. Kim Jong Il, the leader of the world's weakest nuclear power is in uncertain health. With no obvious succession plans and with recent bellicose threats to resume a nuclear program, North Korea will require close watching.
The six-party process that draws in North Korea's four neighbors, plus the United States, will remain the strategic platform, with China the key player in nudging Pyongyang along.
Meanwhile, China, Japan, South Korea, and other Asian export-driven nations will be nudging the new U.S. President to do what will be his first priority anyway: fix the U.S. economy.