China’s rise gives it a greater footprint on the world economy. Whenever something happens there, the rest of the world feels its impact much more than before. This is especially the case in Southeast Asia, which is part of China’s hinterland. So, when three big developments are underway simultaneously — a slowing economy, a major shift in policy and ideology and a worsening relationship with the US — our region needs to sit up and prepare for the implications: China today poses more complex risks for the region and how these pan out depends on answers to three questions discussed below.
1. Will China’s economic slowdown get much worse?
There is little doubt that China’s economy has lost momentum recently, but what is not clear is how deep or persistent this weakening is.