Biden has made a point of stressing ASEAN centrality, and for the attending ASEAN leaders this is a chance to set out regional priorities to a superpower whose influence, if receding, is still substantial.
The most important problem facing China is a lack of alternative concepts to legitimise the state. Although contemporary China is the heir to a socialist revolution, beyond nostalgic leftist circles, orthodox Marxism cannot capture the public imagination as an alternative to liberal democracy.
China’s challenges amid COVID-19 and great power competition
China has adopted key steps to continue integration with the regional and global economy, sending a strong political signal to the outside world on reform. China signed the trade liberalising Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which will be implemented at the beginning of 2022.
Despite spectacular bounce-back growth in the first half of the year, China’s economy had slowed dramatically by year’s end. Worries centred on the property market, a perennial concern for over a decade due to fears of overheating.
Australia must learn to navigate the economic realities of China relations
Australia’s export of 12 disrupted goods to China slumped by a combined US$12.6 billion in 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. China’s total import values increased for seven of the 12 goods, with many other countries picking up the lost Australian sales.