If it comes to that, many will choose to align themselves with America, according to Fraser Howie, an independent analyst who has written books about China and its financial system.
"They're going to go with the States," he told CNBC on Wednesday.
Although much of Asia has become wealthier on the back of China's economic rise since the start of the communist country's reforms 40 years ago, the East Asian giant has not managed to grow its soft power much, Howie told CNBC's "Street Signs."
"In 30 years of growth, much of Asia (has become) rich on the back of China, (but) they've failed to make friends. I think this is a weakness of Chinese soft power — they've failed to make friends and people are more nervous of China rather than friendly towards it," he said.
China's rise from an impoverished country to the world's second-largest economy in the span of 40 years has emboldened the Asian country to expand its footprint economically, politically and technologically. Many see that development as a threat to the U.S. that could bring about a seismic change in the world order Washington helped shape.
"China's goal, simply put, is to replace the U.S. as the world's largest global superpower," FBI Director Christopher Wray said at a press conference in December where the U.S. Justice Department announced hacking charges against two Chinese nationals.
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is currently locked in a bitter dispute with Beijing that has the two sides arguing over not just the tariffs and non-tariff barriers affecting the balance of trade, but also how they fundamentally treat each other's companies.