China Closes in on the US

In News

China is becoming the most powerful country in the Asia-Pacific region according to Asia Power Index.


  • Due to the United State’s shabby handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, China isbecoming the most powerful country in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • According to the Sydney-based Lowy Institutes Asia Power Index for 2020, America has been halved in its 10-point lead on China than two years ago.
  • Lowys Institute has ranked 26 nations and territories.
  • The Institute used 128 indicators to measure the index power which includes defence spending, economic relations, internal stability, the flow of the information and resources for future projects.
  • Due to the poor response to the Covid-19 pandemic, multiple trade disputes and the President Donald Trump’s move to withdraw from multilateral deals and agencies has led to loss of prestige to the United States in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • As per the latest estimate, to recover from the pandemic, the US economy could take until 2024.
  • On the other hand, China’s economy has bounced back from the impact of the virus and is the only large economy to recover in 2020.
  • Despite seeing a fall, China stayed firmly atthe second place for the third year in a row in the Asia Power Index.
  • The contributions to that fall are due to China’s diplomatic clout which is facingaccusations relating to Covid-19 and its wolf warrior diplomacy.
  • The study says that China will eventually level with the United States and may surpass the US at the end of the decade.

Indian Power In Asia

  • Indialost economic growth potential due to the pandemic and is now the fourth most powerful nation after Japan in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • By 2030, Lowy projects that India will reach 40% of China’s economy when compared with 50% estimate in 2019.

Impact of Pandemic on Asia-Pacific Region

  • According to the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research, 347.4 million people in the Asia-Pacific region could fall below the $5.5 a day poverty line because of the pandemic.
  • Asia’s economy is considered to become larger than the rest of the world in 2020.
  • But now, it is facing a storm of public health, economic and strategic challenges.

Other Powers

  • Japan is ranked third and is reported as a smart power for using limited resources to wield broad influence in the region.
  • Japan gained most points in terms of its defence diplomacy which includes joint military exercises and procurement of arms.
  • The countries which ranked under top 10 are Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea.
  • According to the report, South Asian nations have been gripped with political turbulence.
  • This year Taiwan gained its power, along with Australia and Vietnam.
  • Taiwan improved its diplomatic influence score when a handful of allies cut official ties in 2019 as Beijing wanted to isolate the island on the world stage.
  • Australia climbed to 6th rank by overtaking South Korea.
  • Cultural and diplomatic influence helped Australia score points. Its economic relationship score has also increased after Australia secured its 14th free trade deal with Indonesia.
  • Russia and Malaysia positioned as the biggest loses in the index.
  • Russia performed best on resilience measures, diplomatic influence and military capability.
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