News / Asia

Australian Study Weighs China’s Rising Economic, Political Influence in Asia

A forklift arranges the shipping containers near a port in Shanghai, China, March 2, 2011.
A forklift arranges the shipping containers near a port in Shanghai, China, March 2, 2011.

Last year, China attained the status as the world's second-largest economy, surpassing Japan.  A recent study by researchers in Australia examines China's growing regional economic influence and questions whether Beijing's economic clout will lead to greater political and military influence in Asia. 

China has been Australia’s biggest trading partner since 2007, and Chinese purchases of coal, iron and other commodities have provided a key boost to the Australian economy. It has been the same across much of Asia, where Chinese trade has helped boost the economies of such nations as Japan, South Korea and India.

Economic power

But despite these economic ties, it is not clear if Beijing’s economic power will lead to greater regional political and military influence.

John Lee is an analyst at the Lowy Institute, an independent policy group based in Sydney, and author of a recent study on China's regional economic and political relations.  He says that because consumer demand in China is relatively small and that access to markets there by foreign companies is restricted, Beijing's neighbors will continue to rely on trade with each other and with Western economic powerhouses, such as the United States and the European Union.

“China is an immensely distrusted power in the region and even as it has become the dominant trade partner for quite a lot of countries in Asia, for example, Japan, South Korea, Australia and even India.  Every major capital in Asia has moved closer to Washington in order to hedge against China’s rise," said Lee. " So, effectively [and] strategically you have countries ganging up against China despite China’s economic size and importance as a trading partner to these countries.”

Growing military influence

In its report, the Lowy Institute says many of China's neighbors are also anxious over China's growing military influence, especially regarding maritime disputes in the Yellow and South China Seas.

China has insisted that it is a peaceful partner in Asia and wants to resolve its territorial disputes through dialogue. But its expanding navy and military spending have drawn suspicions.

While the Lowy Institute report sees those suspicions restricting China’s influence, there are other Australian analysts who disagree.

'Continued rise of China'

Andrew Davies is an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. He says China’s soaring economic growth and huge military spending could eclipse the United States' influence in Asia.

“The strategic challenge of the next 20 years I think is the continued rise of China and the relative decline of the United States and how that will play out in what we call the global commons," said Davies.  "Part of this story, as well as the United States, which is having a look at its own force posturing globally, but particularly in the western Pacific and one of the things that's become clear in the last few years is that U.S. bases in Japan and Guam are vulnerable to increased Chinese ability.”

Analysts at the Lowy Institute say the United States has been successfully re-engaging with Asia is recent years, shoring up existing alliances with Japan and Australia and forging new ties with India and Vietnam.

In June Australia began a review of its defense capabilities that could lead to a new focus on protecting the country's resource-rich northwestern coast.  The government said the reassessment was not being conducted to counter China's rising military might, insisting that Canberra was confident Beijing would emerge as a “responsible” player in regional affairs.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid