Southeast Asian countries should be cautious in negotiating with China on its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to avoid being trapped in unsustainable debt, 70 percent of respondents said in a policy survey released on Monday.
Southeast Asia is increasingly sceptical of US commitment to the region as a strategic partner and a source of security, while China’s reach is seen as growing both politically and economically, the study also showed.
“The conventional wisdom that China holds sway in the economic realm while the United States wields its influence in the political-strategic domain will … need to be revisited in light of the survey results,” it said.
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