In yet another sign of China’s economic and financial troubles, Beijing has dramatically diminished its financial presence in Southeast Asia. Once preeminent, China finds itself today eclipsed by others. If Xi Jinping and his colleagues in Beijing still dream of global dominance, it must look further away than ever as China retreats from its own backyard.
A recent report by the prestigious, Sydney-based Lowy Institute documents China’s diminished position in the region. Beijing’s official development finance (ODF) to Southeast Asia fell in 2021, the most recent year for which data are available, to the equivalent of $3.9 billion, well down from the $7.6 billion registered at the 2015 peak….