With the US growing closer to India under the Modi government and North Korea seeking stronger ties with Russia, the Chinese government must be increasingly anxious as the world around them changes. Both India and North Korea have served as buffer states against US influence thanks to their rocky relationships with Washington.
In turn, this has helped the emerging global power that is China build its own expanding sphere of influence. An Asia uniting against China and/or neighboring countries seeking stronger alliances with governments from outside of the region undermine China’s ability to pursue its own interests without balancing those needs and wants with those of less powerful neighbors.
Clearly, the rest of Asia and the West have a strong interest in limiting China’s ability to abuse its power, but there is a potential benefit for China as well. Conflicting with the likes of Japan and Vietnam over the last couple of years, China has earned a reputation as somewhat of a bully and this has given the US an opening to reassert its influence in Asia.
While India and China can stand to have a healthier relationship, attempts by the Chinese to subjugate India are eventually going to result in a major conflict. North Korea is, however, a different story.