China has replaced the US as the largest trading partner and largest market for East Asian countries, while it is also the most important investor in the region, Martin Jacques, Author of When China Rules the World, told RT.
RT: China has been highly active recently – the latest major deals are the one with Moscow and Malaysia. Do you think is Beijing’s ambition region-wise?
Martin Jacques: China regards itself to be the most influential power in the region – depends on how you define the region – but certainly in terms of East Asia which obviously embraces North-East Asia, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and also South-East Asia, the ASEAN countries. In a sense it sees itself as returning in some way to its former role.
RT: Do you think China considers itself to be hegemony? How are Beijing’s ambitions perceived by its neighbors?
MJ: I don’t think that China thinks of itself in those terms. It sees itself essentially as having major economic presence and influence in the region and growing political influence. But China is very aware that it arrived at this point very quickly and it has a long way to go. I do think that it views itself as likely in the future to increasingly replace the US as the dominant power in the region, and I think it will, it is already beginning to do this.