Although most of Asia is not interested in a new Cold War between China and the United States, the escalating dynamic between the two superpowers is very much interested in Asia. Few chancelleries in the region would want to choose between China and America, but that is not going to stop Beijing and Washington from persuading key actors in the region to take sides.
Consider two recent developments. Bangladesh, which has a solid relationship with Beijing, was publicly warned recently by China’s Ambassador in Dhaka Li Jiming against warming up to the Quad. The so-called Quad is the framework for a security partnership between the US, Japan, Australia, and India. Bangladesh moving closer to the Quad, Ambassador Li argued, would do “substantial damage” to Dhaka’s ties with Beijing.