China may be Asia's economic powerhouse but it won't become the region's dominant power, according to a new report.
"In examining the factors that go towards the development of Chinese national power-and its ability to use it to achieve national objectives-predictions about a Chinese superpower with the ability to dominate Asia would be premature, if not improbable," said Paul Dibb and John Lee, authors of the report published by Australian think tank Kokoda Foundation.
The argument that China is already Asia's pre-eminent power based on its growing economic and military capacities is weak, the authors say. They expect the limitations of China's economic might, a lack of close bilateral relationships and weak military capability to keep the country from becoming an advanced political-economy that wields influence in the region anytime soon.
"China is a dominant power, but it's not the dominant power in the region or the world. It's got the economic hardware in place... as a collective country, there's no denying that it's an economic and military power," said Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank.
An unproductive economy
China's gross domestic product growth rate of 7 percent may be a five-year low, but it's still the envy of most countries. However, experts say declining productivity is one of biggest tell-tale signs that China cannot maintain its current pace of growth.