• Friday, Jul 03, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:32 am

Southeast Asia wary of China's Belt and Road project, sceptical of US

  • Published at 10:20 pm January 7th, 2019
China-Road-Debt
This photograph taken on October 20, 2017 shows a sign, including Chinese characters, erected on the land where the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail will be constructed in Bandung, West Java province AFP

China was seen by 73% of the respondents as having the greatest economic influence in the region and was also believed to have more influence politically and strategically than the United States

Southeast Asian countries should be cautious in negotiating with China on its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to avoid being trapped in unsustainable debt, 70% of respondents said in a policy survey released on Monday.

Southeast Asia is increasingly sceptical of US commitment to the region as a strategic partner and a source of security, while China's reach is seen as growing both politically and economically, the study also showed.

"The conventional wisdom that China holds sway in the economic realm while the United States wields its influence in the political-strategic domain will ... need to be revisited in light of the survey results," it said.

The survey by the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, affiliated with the Singapore government, polled 1,008 respondents from all ten nations of the ASEAN grouping, drawn from government, academic and business communities, civil society and the media.

Nearly half of the respondents said President Xi Jinping's hallmark Belt and Road initiative would bring ASEAN "closer into China's orbit," while a third said the project lacked transparency and 16% predicted it would fail.

A large majority, or 70%, said their governments "should be cautious in negotiating BRI projects, to avoid getting into unsustainable financial debts with China," a view strongest in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Some Western governments have accused China of pulling countries into a debt trap with the initiative, an accusation China has denied.

China was seen by 73% of the respondents as having the greatest economic influence in the region and was also believed to have more influence politically and strategically than the United States.

Six out of ten respondents said US influence globally had deteriorated from a year ago and two-thirds believed US engagement with Southeast Asia declined. About a third said they had little or no confidence in the US as a strategic partner and provider of regional security.

Fewer than one in 10 saw China as "a benign and benevolent power," with nearly a half saying Beijing possessed "an intent to turn Southeast Asia into its sphere of influence".

The study's authors wrote, "This result ... is a wake-up call for China to burnish its negative image across Southeast Asia despite Beijing’s repeated assurance of its benign and peaceful rise."

There was a call for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to play a more active role in Myanmar's Rohingya crisis, although a majority of the respondents sought mediation rather than diplomatic pressure.

The United Nations says 730,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Myanmar's Rakhine State to Bangladesh since the military's crackdown on insurgent attacks.

UN-mandated investigators have accused Myanmar's military of carrying out killings, gang rape and arson with "genocidal intent," an allegation the military has denied.


50
50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail