Vast majority in Southeast Asia see China topping US as economic power


A vast majority of Southeast Asians see China as topping the U.S. as an economic power, a ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute survey found

The survey showed 76.7 percent of Southeast Asians believe China is the most influential economic power, with the U.S. a distant second at 9.8 percent. 

The survey said although the U.S. number is low, it is a significant improvement from last year, when it was at 6.6 percent. 

The improvement was seen across ASEAN countries, but particularly in Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

While regional countries see China as the top economic power, they also fear the amount of economic control China will exert on their countries. 

In the survey, 64.4 percent worried about China’s economic influence, while 35.6 percent thought Beijing’s economic exertion on the countries was a good thing. 

Those numbers are flipped when respondents were asked about the U.S., with 68.1 percent embracing its regional economic influence.

Along with concern about China’s economic influence, 58.1 percent of respondents have little to no confidence China will contribute to global peace. 

“Despite the anxiety about China’s growing regional political influence, the general level of concern has dropped compared to 2021 with the exception of Laos, Myanmar and Singapore, who have expressed greater apprehension towards China’s ascent,” the institute wrote. 

Tags ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute Southeast Asia Southeast Asians US-China tensions

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