This may be the “Asian century”, but pitfalls still abound for the region, among which contested geopolitics are the most prominent, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in a report.
In fact, the Asia region is now looking similar to late 19th-century Europe (not a good sign), with territorial disputes among neighbouring countries; intensifying competition between a rising power (China) and an established one that is reluctant to cede influence (the US); and the lack of a recognised arbitration framework with which to manage this conflict, the report said.
A geopolitical split in Asia, driven by the US-China rivalry, would derail Asia’s economic prospects, the EIU said.
Most countries are desperate to avoid taking sides, as they balance economic ties to China with support for the security role played in the region by the US. Their ability to be neutral, however, will be tested as superpower competition deepens and is dictated…