China’s as­ser­tion is turn­ing Asian geopol­i­tics even more con­tentious

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTNATION -

claimed by sep­a­ratists. China is a cru­cial large-scale in­vestor in Pak­istan’s econ­omy, par­tic­u­larly as the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion loosens tra­di­tional ties with Pak­istan’s gov­ern­ment. Yet, con­cerns in­side al­ready in­debted Pak­istan about what China will de­mand when Pak­istan can’t re­pay its Chi­nese lenders is on the rise. Call this China’s “debt-trap diplo­macy.” It’s a prob­lem more gov­ern­ments are now think­ing about.

Even in the Philip­pines, where Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has ac­tively courted Chi­nese in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment, there is a back­lash against China’s grow­ing eco­nomic reach. Duterte has dropped his coun­try’s ter­ri­to­rial claims in the South China Sea, an area in which China’s mil­i­tary ex­pan­sion has drawn in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion, and has so far won lit­tle tan­gi­ble re­sults. to show for it. Duterte’s ri­vals are now ac­cus­ing him of sell­ing out the coun­try’s in­ter­ests. It’s an is­sue that will roil Philip­pine pol­i­tics long af­ter Duterte is gone.

Yet, de­spite the doubts and fears of China’s neigh­bours, its last­ing in­flu­ence is still Asia’s over­rid­ing re­al­ity. All these coun­tries need good re­la­tions with Bei­jing—to grow their economies, cre­ate jobs, and main­tain their po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity. They will man­age the risks and op­por­tu­ni­ties their re­la­tion­ships with China as best they can. What role the United States in­tends to play in Asia re­mains the cru­cial unan­swered ques­tion.

Ian Bremmer is the pres­i­dent of Eura­sia Group and au­thor of Us vs Them: The Fail­ure of Glob­al­ism The views ex­pressed are per­sonal

De­spite the doubts and fears of China’s neigh­bours, its last­ing in­flu­ence is still Asia’s over­rid­ing re­al­ity. All these coun­tries need good re­la­tions with Bei­jing—to bol­ster their economies, cre­ate jobs, and main­tain their po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity

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