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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid