Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2015, Vol. 70 ›› Issue (6): 864-878.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201506002

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The spatio-temporal evolution and driving mechanism of geopolitical influence of China and the US in South Asia

Shufang WANG1,2(), Yuejing GE1(), Yuli LIU1   

  1. 1. School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2. School of Economics and Management, Henan Polytechnic University, Jiaozuo 454000, Henan, China
  • Received:2014-09-01 Revised:2015-02-20 Online:2015-06-20 Published:2015-07-16
  • Supported by:
    The National Science and Technology Support Program, No.2012BAK12B03;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41171097


As a vital geo-strategic area for China and the US, South Asia plays an important role in international geopolitics. On one hand, China's maritime transportation safety and the stability of western frontier are closely related with South Asia. On the other hand, the US needs to implement "Asia Pacific rebalancing strategy" by means of the support of South Asia. Therefore, how to analyze the changes and evolution mechanism of geopolitical influence (i.e., geo-influence) of China and the US in South Asia, has become the key research question. This paper proposes the index system and mathematical model of geo-influence by combining geography, international relations and political perspective. Furthermore, the paper explores the main influencing factors and driving mechanism of geo-influence evolution by analyzing the spatio-temporal changes of geo-influence of China and the US in South Asia. In this study, five results can be concluded as follows: (1) The geo-influence of China and the US in South Asia has been rising slowly with small fluctuations from 2003 to 2012. What’s more, the geo-influence of China grew faster than that of the US. (2) The evolution of national geo-influence is a slow process. From 2003 to 2012, the changes of geo-influence of China and the US in South Asia fluctuated within a narrow range. (3) Hard power, soft power, interdependent power and friction force are the main effect factors of geo-influence. Hard power and soft power are the dominant factors, which play a pulling role. Interdependent power is the auxiliary factor, which plays a pushing role. Friction force is the weakening factor, which plays a reversing role. (4) The driving mechanism of geo-influence evolution of China and the US in South Asia involves geographical location, geopolitics, geo-economy and geo-culture. Among them, geographical location acts as the restricting force; geopolitics acts as the leading force; geo-economy acts as the driving force; geo-culture acts as the radiate force. (5) National hard power is not equal to the geo-influence. One strong country does not necessarily have the same strong geo-influence. Thus there is a non-linear relationship between national hard power and geo-influence. Hard power does play a leading role, but it cannot determine the strength and speed of geo-influence changes.

Key words: geopolitics influence, spatio-temporal changes, evolution mechanism, South Asia, China, the US