Japan’s National Institute for Defence Studies says China is trying to build regional support for the country along the South China Sea by dividing Southeast Asian nations.

This year’s report by the Institute on China’s military development focuses on the impact of China’s One Belt One Road economic initiative on regional security. The initiative is aimed at creating a massive economic bloc with China at its centre.

The report says China has greatly contributed to infrastructure development of ASEAN member countries and that ASEAN has become part of Belt and Road, and closer to China.

It notes that China now influences policy decisions in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

The report also says China has succeeded in causing a rift among ASEAN members in relation to China’s construction of military bases in the South China Sea. It adds that by making its economic impact political, China is creating a regional order in its favour.

The report also refers to concerns voiced by ASEAN members about their excessive dependence on China, as well as the country’s aggressive changes of the status quo backed by its military power.

It says these senses of danger are now shared across the world, and that China’s strategy for regional order is not proceeding smoothly. It urges close monitoring of how China will deal with developments in the region.