How China is challenging American dominance in Asia
WASHINGTON: As China grows more powerful, it is displacing decades-old American pre-eminence in parts of Asia. The outlines of the rivalry are defining the future of the continent.
Last week, a group of 11 nations signed a trade deal that had originally been conceived as a US-led counterweight to China — but after President Donald Trump pulled out, the pact went forward without the United States. It was the latest turn in Asia's gradual transition from American dominance to something much more fluid.
The stakes could hardly be higher: The two powers are seeking to reshape the economies and political systems of the world's most populous region in its own image.
The United States' military capabilities still dominate Asia. But China has started to wield growing military power and economic leverage to reorder the region, pulling longtime American allies like the Philippines and Indonesia closer.
The shift may accelerate under Trump, whose volatile foreign policy and rejection of trade agreements is already forcing Asian nations to rethink their strategies.
The trade deal reached last week is a powerful signal of how countries like Australia and Japan are forging ahead without American leadership. The deal replaces the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump had effectively killed.
Every Asian country now trades more with China, often by a factor of 2 to 1, an imbalance that is only growing as China's economic growth outpaces that of United States.
Asian leaders know that their economies — and therefore, domestic politics — rely on Beijing, which has shown it will offer investment to friends and economic punishment to those who displease it.
But another metric of great power influence, arms sales, shows United States' enduring reach.
（365体育投注官方吧_365bet亚洲版官网_365体育投注体育在线开户时报 原文图片 ）
Countries that purchase American weapons bind their militaries and their foreign policies to the United States. The imbalance reflects the extent of American military relationships in Asia, which date back to World War II.
Many of the 20 countries caught between Beijing and Washington face an impossible choice between Chinese wealth and American security.
"These countries don't want to have to choose sides," said Tanvi Madan, an Asia specialist at the Brookings Institution.
So they're not. Instead, most are pursuing strategies intended to draw maximum benefit from both powers, minimize risks of angering either and preserve their independence.