Asian emissaries at the opening ceremony found themselves awkwardly applauding a display of nationalistic shock-and-awe that rivalled the Beijing Olympics opening, with added overtones of naval expansion.
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The vast arena had been converted into a mini-ocean, and four of the world's largest LCD screens displayed an approaching armada of traditional Chinese ships, their billowing red sails growing larger and more numerous until the ocean was painted red.
''Let's go hand-in-hand in harmonious Asia,'' said the text on a small screen off to one side.
At the centre was a Chinese fishing boat, battling a raging storm until it was guided to safety by hundreds of muscular men dressed as waves. It was visually stunning but symbolically resonant of recent events in the East China Sea that have seriously damaged relations between China and Japan.
On a lighter note, Al Jazeera looks at the debut of traditional Chinese board games,including Chinese chess and Go, at this year's Asian Games: