China’s assertion is turning Asian geopolitics even more contentious
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