L’avènement d’un géant aux pieds d’argile

SÉOUL – D’ici à ce que la Chine dépasse les États-Unis pour devenir dans les prochaines années la première économie mondiale, l’empire du milieu aura bien ancré son statut de puissance militaire majeure – un géant dont la volonté de s’affirmer sur le plan stratégique suscite d’ores et déjà une sérieuse inquiétude chez ses voisins. Pour autant, la réalité n’est autre que celle d’une puissance émergente chinoise solitaire et vulnérable – le pays étant notamment confronté à un certain nombre de défis intérieurs potentiellement invalidants.

À l’heure actuelle, la Chine est encerclée par les bases militaires de l’Amérique et de ses alliés. Bien que la plupart des États asiatiques entendent maintenir et précisément développer leurs relations économiques avec la Chine, aucun d’entre eux (à l’exception de la Corée du Nord, dépendante de l’aide chinoise) n’est prêt à l’accepter comme la première puissance de la région. En effet, si un certain nombre d’alliés des États-Unis, tels que l’Indonésie et l’Inde, se sont élevés en tant qu’acteurs mondiaux majeurs, c’est principalement en réponse à la montée en puissance de la Chine.

Pour sa part, l’Amérique a considérablement réorienté sa puissance militaire en direction de l’Asie – avec un certain nombre de déploiements militaires de grande envergure en Australie et aux Philippines, 60% de la capacité navale américaine naviguant aujourd’hui dans les eaux de la région – et renforce ses relations avec le Japon et la Corée du Sud en matière de défense. Les États-Unis œuvrent également à la conclusion d’un Partenariat transpacifique, accord économique et commercial excluant la Chine mais faisant intervenir nombre de ses voisins régionaux.

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