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- A region of strategic importance for both China and the United States
- Thailand has shifted towards China in recent years
The Lowy Institute, an independent think tank based in Australia, has published a report titled that analyzes the power dynamics in the region and the implications for Southeast Asia.
In recent years, the rise of China as a global superpower and its increasing assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region has raised concerns among its neighbors and the United States.
The report, titled “Asia Power Snapshot: China and the United States in Southeast Asia“, uses a new methodology to analyse the data from the Asia Power Index, a tool that measures the relative influence of 26 countries and territories in the region across eight dimensions.
A region of strategic importance for both China and the United States
Southeast Asia is a region of strategic importance for both China and the United States. The two powers have been vying for influence in the region for decades, but their rivalry has intensified in recent years as China’s economic and military rise challenges the US-led order.
China has increased its lead over the United States in terms of overall influence
The report finds that China has increased its lead over the United States in terms of overall influence in Southeast Asia since 2018, from 52–48 to 54–46.
China’s influence is strongest in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, where it has a large geographical and economic advantage over the United States. The United States, on the other hand, maintains a higher level of influence than China in the Philippines and Singapore, where it has stronger defence and cultural ties.
China has a clear edge over the United States in economic relationships
The report also examines the trends and drivers of influence in four categories: economic relationships, defence networks, diplomatic influence and cultural influence. It shows that China has a clear edge over the United States in economic relationships, reflecting its trade, investment and infrastructure initiatives in the region.
Southeast Asian countries have tried to balance their relations with China and the United States, but they face difficult choices as the strategic competition between the two powers intensifies. The report notes that many Southeast Asian countries are increasingly hedging their bets by diversifying their economic and security partnerships, engaging with China while also strengthening ties with other regional powers such as Japan, India, and Australia.
The United States still has a significant advantage over China in defence networks
The United States still has a significant advantage over China in defence networks, due to its longstanding alliances and partnerships with several Southeast Asian countries. However, China has narrowed the gap with the United States in diplomatic influence, by expanding its diplomatic presence and engagement with regional institutions. The United States retains a higher level of cultural influence than China, thanks to its media reach and people-to-people connections.
Thailand has shifted towards China in recent years
The report also examines the variation of influence across different countries in Southeast Asia. It shows that the United States is more influential than China only in the Philippines and Singapore, while China dominates in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Thailand, which used to favor the United States, has shifted towards China in recent years. The report suggests that these patterns of influence shape the strategic choices of Southeast Asian countries.
The report concludes that the power competition between China and the United States in Southeast Asia is likely to intensify in the coming years, as both countries seek to advance their interests and values in the region. It argues that Southeast Asian countries will face increasing challenges and opportunities in navigating this complex strategic environment, and will need to balance their relations with both powers while preserving their autonomy and agency.
Yes I agree with you since China wants Taiwan it will only be a matter of time when then move through Laos to take over a corrupt kingdom a cocaine addict and his miltary generals. Kingdom