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ZHANG YUJUN/Four China Daily

US uses ‘Indo-Pacific strategy’ to sabotage Asia-Pacific stability

The strategic competition between China and the United States is heating up. The United States vigorously pursues her version 2.0 of the “Indo-Pacific Strategy,” attempting to encircle and contain China through value diplomacy and alliance diplomacy.

The Joe Biden administration sees NATO as the most important strategic resource for securing US global hegemony. They are trying to force NATO to intervene in Asia-Pacific affairs and assert itself. As the de facto leader of the NATO alliance, the United States calls on its European allies to align their policies toward China with those of the United States and to strengthen security cooperation with allies in the Asia-Pacific region. At a summit in Madrid in June, NATO unveiled a new strategic concept that underscored the expansion of its security organization into the Asia-Pacific region. Also, for the first time, Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand were invited to the NATO Summit. In fact, NATO’s expansion in the Asia-Pacific region is an inevitable consequence of keeping pace with the strategic alignment of the US’s “Indo-Pacific strategy,” which will certainly increase tensions in the region.

The United States persuaded South Korea and Japan to improve relations to revitalize the trilateral mechanism. The US has also formed a purely military mechanism, her AUKUS, with the UK and Australia. In addition, the Japan-U.S.-India-Australia Quadrilateral Security Dialogue was upgraded to a summit meeting, expanding areas of cooperation. It is also trying to expand the “Five Eyes” information network of “Anglo-Saxon countries” by adding new members.

In the economic realm, the United States has taken the lead in developing an Indo-Pacific for Prosperity to economically integrate the “Indo-Pacific region” and establish new regional economic and trade rules to limit and undermine China. Economic Framework” initiative. Offsetting the regional impact of China’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

The United States is also using the so-called resilience and security of its supply chains as an excuse to encourage all IPEF participants to reduce their dependence on China in their supply chains, or even “disconnect” from China altogether. At the same time, China is cutting off access to advanced technologies and products, especially semiconductors.

A deterioration in US-China relations will inevitably affect the China policies of other major countries in the Asia-Pacific, especially Japan and India. As the Japanese government resolutely cooperates with the US’s “Indo-Pacific Strategy,” the conflict between Japan and China is intensifying.

China-India relations continue to oscillate between cooperation and confrontation. The US has taken the opportunity to increase arms sales to India and step up US-India intelligence cooperation and military exercises, increasing the risk of confrontation between China and India.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are rising again. South Korea’s new government and the United States have reached agreement on a hardline approach to what they claim are “provocative actions” by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The United States and South Korea resumed joint military exercises that had been suspended for four years, conducted the Ulchi Freedom Shield exercise, which surpassed previous military exercises, and exchanged views on an “extended deterrence strategy” for the first time in five years. North Korea has conducted several missile tests after South Korea’s new president, Yoon Seok-yeol, took office.

Tensions in the Taiwan Strait are increasing. The United States has significantly strengthened its political ties and defense cooperation with the Taiwanese authorities on the grounds that, pursuant to the so-called Taiwan Relations Act and her six guarantees to Taiwan, it is necessary to give greater weight to its security commitments to the island. I was. During the Joe Biden administration, the United States has already sold arms to Taiwan six times.

Since the Russian-Ukrainian conflict erupted, US lawmakers have made a series of visits to Taipei, the most provocative being by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early August. Her visit heightened the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue. In response, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army launched missiles into the waters near Taiwan and conducted several days of military exercises around the island. In early September, the United States announced a $1.1 billion military sale to the island on the pretext of boosting Taiwan’s defense capabilities.

In addition to traditional security risks, the Asia-Pacific region also faces non-traditional security risks, particularly energy and food security threats that are becoming increasingly prominent. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine and tough US and European sanctions against Russia are driving up international energy prices. Global coal and natural gas prices have risen by more than 100%. The continued rise in energy prices could even disrupt nearly a third of the world’s oil and gas supply. On the food security front, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has disrupted global supply chains, hurting grain imports in many countries.

The strategic competition between the United States and China is inevitably affecting the security situation and the prospects for regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Smaller countries represented by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations must formulate policies carefully.

Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations must first of all face the fact that competition between major powers can lead to differences within ASEAN. For example, there are various opinions about AUKUS, with the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam supporting it, and Indonesia and Malaysia opposing it. Today, ASEAN must do its best to maintain the domestic cohesion that is the basis for maintaining its “core position” in the regional security regime.

Second, there is a need to strengthen cooperation among ASEAN countries to jointly address current risks and challenges. Recently, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia have stepped up cooperation in the areas of security and economics, seeking to remove major power interference and independently handle key issues of regional security and economic growth.

Finally, ASEAN’s central position in the region should be preserved. The association promotes the implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, adheres to balanced diplomacy among major powers, and avoids the dilemma of choosing between China and the United States.

Faced with a complex and difficult international situation, China has successively put forward global development initiatives and global security initiatives to further promote the strengthening of regional governance.

In terms of security, China advocates common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable Asian security, and seeks to fit in with ASEAN’s concept of long-term and comprehensive security. China also adheres to complementarity between traditional and non-traditional security governance. In terms of economic governance, China holds high the banner of globalization, adheres to open regionalism, and promotes regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

The author is an assistant researcher at the Institute of International Strategies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The author contributed this article to China His Watch, a think tank run by China Daily.

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