China’s standing in the Asia-Pacific region has been damaged by its decision to stick with "zero-COVID" for most of 2022, leaving the U.S. to cement its position as the most influential power in the region, according to an Australian research group.

The Sydney-based Lowy Institute’s Asia Power Index for 2023 shows that China registered the greatest decline out of the 26 nations and territories in the report, while strong economic links and defense ties solidified the U.S. as the leading power in the Asia-Pacific.

The index measures power based on 133 indicators across eight core themes, assessing how much sway is held diplomatically, economically and militarily. Overall, U.S. was placed first, followed by China, Japan, India and Russia.