TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is ranked 14th in the latest Asia Power Index, published by the Sydney-based Lowy Institute on Tuesday (May 28), and is the only country from the index marked by a significant decline in power, especially diplomatic influence.
Taiwan’s rankings have dropped in the index’s measurement of military capability, resilience, diplomatic influence, as well as in the overall power score compared to the previous year, according to a report on the index.
The report regards Taiwan’s loss of official relations with Latin American countries in 2018 as an important factor for the country’s setback in diplomacy.
The report stresses Taiwan’s “central, strategic importance to the regional balance of power,” saying that the nation represents “a formidable check on China’s aspirations to become a fully fledged sea power.”
However, the index puts Taiwan in 24th place in the category of diplomatic influence, due to the country’s status as “a diplomatic outsider in the region and increasingly globally.”
Although Taiwan’s rankings are down in terms of its overall power and in three other categories in the index, its performance in economic resources and defense networks have improved, owning to progress in its score for technology, says the report.
The United States remains the strongest power in the Asia Pacific region in the index, topping half of the eight index measures with its overall score unchanged from the last year.
► (Screen capture from Lowy Institute's website: https://power.lowyinstitute.org/)
Nevertheless, China, which performs exceptionally well in this year’s index, continues to narrow down its power cap with the United States. Beijing has also for the first time edged out the United States in the index’s assessment of economic resources.
“The Trump administration’s focus on trade wars and balancing trade flows one country at a time has done little to improve the glaring weakness of U.S. influence, its economic relationships,” the report concludes.
In addition to economic resources, China obtains first place in three other measures, including economic relationships, diplomatic influence, and future resources.
However, while China remains a superpower in Asia, some economic and social challenges have begun to loom over Beijing, such as growing opposition from other countries to the Belt and Road Initiative, and a decline in the country’s workforce.
Japan comes in third place in the index’s overall power score, followed by India, Russia, South Korea, Australia, and Singapore.