Navigate (vb.), direct carefully and safely (from WordNet, navigate - Definitions from Dictionary.com)
Does that help?
In the following sentence:
The United States cannot be certain of China’s course—the path down the river—even though it can often discern the riverbanks between which China’s leaders must navigate.
Does "navigate" here imply overcoming difficulty? In other words, the US can often see the places along the river where China's leaders must be careful so as to safely go though the place. Your insight please. Thanks a million.
You're most welcome.