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USA Bolsters Anti-Chinese Efforts in the Indo-Pacific

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In response to China’s increasing political and economic clout in the region of South Asia, Washington has intensified its efforts to promote its concept of the free and open Indo Pacific.

Donald Trump’s administration has borrowed this expression from Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe, who described his vision for the Indo Pacific region in a 2007 speech in the Parliament of India during his first term. Later on, Shinzō Abe defined the concept as a strategy aimed at transforming the Indo Pacific into a region free of violence and coercion (the Arc of Freedom and Prosperity) where the rule of law prevails and the market economy dominates thus ensuring prosperity in this part of the world.

It is noteworthy that the first official statement clarifying Washington’s vision for the region was made by US Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis during Asia’s annual security summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue, on 2 June 2018. The position, described by the head of the US Department of Defense, reflected the ideas in the United States’ National Security Strategy (NSS) and the National Defense Strategy (issued at the end of 2017), which focus on security in the Indo Pacific region and clearly describe China as mainly a “strategic competitor” for the first time.

In recent years, levels of cooperation on security in the Indo Pacific continued to increase steadfastly between the United States, Japan and Australia in the defense sphere. And their annual trilateral meetings laid the groundwork for US diplomacy in Asia. The USA has been boosting its defense ties with India on a bilateral basis and via holding annual military drills together with Japan and India, called Malabar. In addition, since the United States unveiled its new Maritime Security Initiative for Southeast Asia in 2015 (with a price tag of $425 million), it has been increasingly helping key ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states ramp up their military capabilities. For now, Japan and Australia have been coordinating these efforts with the following nations: Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Many observers think that the free and open Indo-Pacific region strategy (tasked with........

© New Eastern Outlook