China will remain a formidable US rival even with a shrinking population

Its still immense numbers carry weight. But China has to reckon with India in the Asian power stakes.

The decline in China’s population is a long-term and inexorable trend. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
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China’s population is shrinking. Combined with the news that its economy grew by only 3 per cent in 2022 – the lowest since 1976 – the twin announcements in January produced a wave of commentary in the West that China’s rise was over.

Instead, it is being gleefully proclaimed that China is now in irreversible decline. With China supposedly past its peak, the argument goes, its challenge to American primacy in Asia and globally will falter. The upshot: the US retains its place as the world’s most powerful nation.

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