China has been setting the wheels in the economic sandbox and creating the next stage of the Silk Road economic belt, with or without the United States, since taking control of the Korean peninsula in 1950. The economic model they have created there is almost perfect, except for two major factors. Firstly, it is impossible to have a one-for-all relationship with every country in the region; secondly, it will take decades before the model will work in full measure.
In its current form, the Silk Road Economic Belt covers most of Asia; indeed, much of South Asia as well as Central Asia, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is believed that during the next two decades the belt will be completely integrated, and that will mean increased trade between all countries in the area. Currently, China has an $8 trillion trade surplus, which buys some slack time for those who think that they may lose their hold over the Malayan country of Malaysia. However, this is not likely, because there appears to be so much mutual interest between India and China in helping each other to defeat their neighbors, and in helping to grow trade relations throughout the region.
There is no telling what direction China’s economy will move in the future, but at this point it appears as if the country needs to take the lead in economic development in the area. Having said that, it is also vital that each country involved sticks to its own brand of regional influence, lest regional unity is compromised. This will help ensure that the economic model sticks to its plan and does not diverge in any way. In the past, Taiwan pushed for greater political autonomy from the mainland, but that has yet to materialize. Whether or not the United States wants to take a leadership role in the economic sphere, remains to be seen.