COVID-19 Holds Back China’s Indo-Pacific Power, War Risks ‘Significant’ – Report – .

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COVID-19 Holds Back China’s Indo-Pacific Power, War Risks ‘Significant’ – Report – .


People wearing protective masks walk on a street, following new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Shanghai, China on December 1, 2021. REUTERS / Aly Song

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MELBOURNE, Dec. 5 (Reuters) – The coronavirus pandemic has weakened China’s power in the Indo-Pacific, and growing security uncertainties in the region present a “significant” war risk, said on Sunday. Lowy Institute in a report.

U.S. allies in the region and major balancing powers such as India have never been more dependent on America’s ability and willingness to maintain a military and strategic counterbalance in response to China’s rise to power. , said the Sydney-based foreign policy think tank.

At the same time, Beijing has sought to deter Southeast Asian countries from joining the US coalition, while improving its military exchanges with Russia and Pakistan as well as with North Korea and thus creating a formidable trio of nuclear powers aligned with China in the Region.

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“Whether the emerging balance of military power contributes to deterrence and strategic stability in the Indo-Pacific is an open question,” the report said.

“The depth of hostilities, the extent of US-Chinese competition, and the presence of multiple potential hot spots mean that the risk of war is significant. “

The impact of the pandemic has undermined the prosperity of the entire region, weakening the overall strength of China.

“Beijing is now less likely to outperform its competitor in global power by the end of the decade – this suggests that there is nothing inevitable about China’s rise in the world,” said The report. “It seems highly unlikely that China will ever be as dominant as the United States once was. “

The think tank said Australia, whose relations with China have deteriorated dramatically in recent years, has withstood China’s growing power better than most US partners – but increasingly depends on Washington. .

In 2018, Australia banned Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co from its 5G telecommunications network. Relations deteriorated last year when Canberra called for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, sparking a spate of trade retaliation from China.

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Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by William Mallard

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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