Issues & Insights Vol. 23, SR3 – Strategic Competition and Security Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific
There is a growing acceptance among countries in the Indo-Pacific region that strategic competition between the United States and China is changing perceptions about security and the adequacy of the existing security architecture. While some have characterized the competition between the two as a new Cold War, it is clear that what is happening in the region is far more complex than the competition that characterized the original Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. First, the economic integration that has taken place since the early 1990s makes it much more difficult to draw bright ideological lines between the two sides. Further, the Asian context of the emerging competition is one where the two competitors have grown to share power. As the dominant military power, the United States has been the primary security guarantor in Asia and beyond. China, on the other hand, has emerged over the past decades as the primary economic catalyst in Asia and beyond. Currently, each side seems increasingly unwilling to accept that arrangement.
2022 ended with South Korea adopting specific Indo-Pacific terminology with the Dec. 28 release of its Strategy for a Free, Peaceful, and Prosperous Indo-Pacific Region (SFPPIP). The key takeaway: The SFPPIP, and President Yoon Suk Yeol, signal an end to South Korea’s “strategic ambiguity” under the previous president, Moon Jae-in. Seoul pivoting away from Beijing and toward Washington—delicately, but clearly. Tiếp tục đọc “South Korea’s Indo-Pacific pivot strategy”→
The Indo-Pacific region is of significant importance to Canada. Home to more than two thirds of the global population, it is the fastest-growing economic region in the world.
As a Pacific nation, Canada recognizes that the Indo-Pacific region is critically important for the long-term prosperity, health and security of Canadians. Beyond our 25,000 km of Pacific Ocean coastline, Canadians share history, culture, and long-standing trade and development ties with the people of the Indo-Pacific.
“We envision an Indo-Pacific that is open, connected, prosperous, resilient, and secure—and we are ready to work together with each of you to achieve it.” President Joe Biden East Asia Summit October 27, 2021
The Biden-Harris Administration has made historic strides to restore American leadership in the Indo-Pacific and adapt its role for the 21st century. In the last year, the United States has modernized its longstanding alliances, strengthened emerging partnerships, and forged innovative links among them to meet urgent challenges, from competition with China to climate change to the pandemic. It has done so at a time when allies and partners around the world are increasingly enhancing their own engagement in the Indo-Pacific; and when there is broad, bipartisan agreement in the U.S. Congress that the United States must, too. This convergence in commitment to the region, across oceans and across political-party lines, reflects an undeniable reality: the Indo-Pacific is the most dynamic region in the world, and its future affects people everywhere.
That reality is the basis of the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States. This strategy outlines President Biden’s vision to more firmly anchor the United States in the Indo-Pacific and strengthen the region in the process. Its central focus is sustained and creative collaboration with allies, partners, and institutions, within the region and beyond it.
The United States will pursue an Indo-Pacific region that is:
Over the past year, China has adopted an increasingly forward-looking defense posture. It has flown its fighter jets over Taiwan, built air bases in the territories bordering India and, most recently, voiced its opposition to Australia buying nuclear-powered submarines from the United States and United Kingdom.
Not so long ago, China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, denigrated the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or “Quad”) grouping, saying it would “dissipate like sea foam” in the Indian Ocean, and called it nothing more than a “headline-grabbing” exercise.
It is worth pondering why a “dissipating sea foam” suddenly warrants such a proactive defense posture.
Following in Trump’s footsteps
For starters, Quad nations have begun to turn words into action. Australia cancelled port projects that were part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), embarked on a mission to find alternative markets for its exports, and cemented ties with India and the United States, taking the initiative to diversify its supply chains. India went a step further and instituted Foreign Direct Investment rules that selectively kept Chinese investment out. This measure aided in fulfilling the Modi administration’s Atmanirbhar Bharat (“self-reliant India”) goals, while simultaneously reducing the Indian economy’s over-reliance on Chinese imports.
On 19 April 2021, the Council adopted conclusions on an EU Strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific . As a follow-up to the Council conclusions, the Commission and the High Representative presented a Joint Communication on the EU’s Indo-Pacific Strategy on 16 September 2021.
Why an EU Strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific?
The Indo-Pacific region is increasingly becoming strategically important for the EU. The region’s growing economic, demographic, and political weight makes it a key player in shaping the international order and in addressing global challenges.
The EU and the Indo-Pacific are highly interconnected. The EU is already the top investor, the leading development cooperation partner and one of the biggest trading partners in the Indo-Pacific region. Together, the Indo-Pacific and Europe hold over 70% of the global trade in goods and services, as well as over 60% of foreign direct investment flows.
Speaking during a news conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the nuclear-powered submarine cooperation “has seriously undermined regional peace and stability, intensified the arms race and undermined international nonproliferation efforts.”
The Commission and the High Representative invite the European Parliament and the Council to endorse the approach set out in this Joint Communication and to work together on the implementation of its actions and their review.
Issues & Insights Vol. 21, SR 2 — Advancing a Rules-based Maritime Order in the Indo-Pacific
Authors of this volume participated in the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Expert Working Group’s 2021 workshop that took place, virtually on March 23-24. The working group, composed of esteemed international security scholars and maritime experts from Japan, the United States, and other Indo-Pacific states, was formed to promote effective U.S.-Japan cooperation on maritime security issues in the region through rigorous research on various legal interpretations, national policies, and cooperative frameworks to understand what is driving regional maritime tensions and what can be done to reduce those tensions. The workshop’s goal is to help generate sound, pragmatic and actionable policy solutions for the United States, Japan, and the wider region, and to ensure that the rule of law and the spirit of cooperation prevail in maritime Indo- Pacific.
The Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Expert Working Group’s 2021 workshop and this volume were funded by a grant from the U.S. Embassy Tokyo, and implemented in collaboration with the Yokosuka Council on Asia Pacific Studies (YCAPS).
The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. For questions, please email email@example.com.
Photo: The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), center left, and the Japanese helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), center right, sail in formation with other ships from the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) as aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force fly overhead in formation during Keen Sword 2019 in the Philippine Sea. Keen Sword 2019 is a joint, bilateral field-training exercise involving U.S. military and JMSDF personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability of the U.S.-Japan alliance. Source: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters/Public domain.
Key officials engaged in United States relations with Pacific Islands countries discussed expanding presence and engagement in the region from development, military, and congressional policy perspectives. They explained how these moves position the United States to deepen strategic partnership with Pacific Island nations in support of a free, open, and secure Indo-Pacific. Opening comments followed by moderated discussion covered the development trajectories of Pacific Island countries, COVID-19’s impacts on the region, and US-China dynamics.
Andrew Rhodes wrote this essay while a student at the U.S. Naval War College. It won the Strategic Research Paper category of the 2019 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategic Essay Competition.
In the early 20th century, the visionary Marine officer Earl “Pete” Ellis compiled remarkable studies of islands in the Western Pacific and considered the practical means for the seizure or defense of advanced bases. A century after Ellis’s work, China presents new strategic and operational challenges to the U.S. position in Asia, and it is time for Washington to develop a coherent strategy, one that will last another 100 years, for the islands of the Western Pacific. It has become common to consider the second island chain as a defining feature of Pacific geography, but when Ellis mastered its geography, he saw not a “chain,” but a “cloud.” He wrote in 1921 that the “Marshall, Caroline, and Pelew Islands form a ‘cloud’ of islands stretching east and west.” His apt description of these archipelagoes serves well for a broader conception of the islands in, and adjacent to, traditional definitions of the second island chain. A new U.S. strategy should abandon the narrow lens of the “chain” and emphasize a broader second island cloud that highlights the U.S. regional role and invests in a resilient, distributed, and enduring presence in the Pacific.
The year 2020 was filled with geopolitical and geoeconomic changes that represented a major shift in world history, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. presidential election leading the way.
How effectively each nation can control the spread of infections within its own borders is likely to significantly affect the transformation of the global economy and power balance in the post-coronavirus era.
Today, the White House is publishing the recently declassified United States Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific. For the last 3 years, this document has provided overarching strategic guidance for implementing the 2017 National Security Strategy within the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region. Approved in February 2018 for implementation across Executive Branch departments and agencies, the document is being released to communicate to the American people and to our allies and partners, the enduring commitment of the United States to keeping the Indo-Pacific region free and open long into the future.
The 15th East Asia Summit on Saturday hopes to give a big push to a free, open, inclusive, transparent, rules-based, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
The Summit Meeting will also discuss ways and means to strengthen the EAS platform and to make it more responsive to emerging challenges on its 15th anniversary. The Leaders will also exchange views on issues of international and regional interest including the COVID-19 pandemic and the cooperation among EAS participating count ..