fredag 5. april 2019

China is becoming an election issue in Asia. And that's bad news for Beijing

Two years ago, Indonesian President Joko Widodo -- also known as Jokowi -- stood shoulder to shoulder with Xi Jinping for a group photo to celebrate the Chinese leader's Belt and Road project. Yet now, as Jokowi seeks re-election, he appears to be distancing himself from Beijing and downplaying the importance of Chinese-funded projects in Indonesia.

It's a pattern emerging across southeast Asia and beyond, and one that will be of great concern for Beijing as Chinese investment and ties become an awkward -- if not downright toxic -- election issue. The growing skepticism over Xi's signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) risks exacerbating existing tensions many countries in the region have with Beijing over territorial disputes, as both China and the US continue to jockey for power amid a drawn-out trade war.