Already strained relations between China and the United States over trade and security issues mark the beginning of a more competitive U.S.-China economic, diplomatic, and security relationship. This tricky ties between the two superpowers is turning into a defining feature of reliability and security in the Indo-Pacific region.
Xi Jinping government has shown its intentions to maintain a more assertive regional security policy. A number of developments have reflected this shift, such as attempts to challenge Japan’s control over the Senkaku Islands and Chinese island-building and construction of military armed bases in the South China Sea.
Beijing appears to create a regional security order characterized by greater Chinese influence and reduced U.S. influence, one that will make other countries feel as though they have little choice but to defer to Chinese preferences, or at least abstain from any activities that China sees as a threat to its interests.
John C Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, informed the Senate Armed Services Committee that a major concern now is the military, economic and political high-end threats to Indo-Pacific region allies and partners exuding from China.
Rood provided evidence at a commission on strategic threats, ongoing challenges, and National Defense Strategy implementation. In response to regional threats from China, the Defense Department is bolstering its military relationships with a number of countries, Rood stated.
An Analysis of Intentions and Interests of Countries under the “Indo-Pacific Strategy”:
THE UNITED STATES
The leader of the “Indo-Pacific Strategy“, at present, the United States has asserted the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” which manifests the concern of the United States to the Indian Ocean region.
However, after the retreat of Obama’s “Asia-Pacific rebalancing” strategy, the Asia-Pacific power structure involved corresponding adjustments. Allies in the Asia-Pacific region have been indecisive of Trump’s foreign policies.
According to Trump, the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” is the expansion and revision of the “Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy.” The purpose is to contain China’s rise and safeguard U.S. leadership in the region.
Japan, as an important ally of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region, plays an important role in the conception and promotion of the Indo Pacific strategy. According to the testimony presented by Rood, the department is planning to unite its National Defense Strategy with Japan’s analogous National Defense Program Guidelines and has ongoing dialogues to revaluate responsibilities, missions, and capabilities while increasing operational readiness and training.
The Department of Defense is also expanding cooperation with the Japanese in space, cyberspace, electromagnetic spectrum, artificial intelligence, and cross-domain operations. Apart from its own insecurities as an island nation, the reason that Japan is so clearly united with India and the United States is Japan’s concerns about China’s rising economic and military capabilities.
India has always been a country with great national ambitions and is one of the most important advocates of the concept of ” Indo-Pacific Strategy“. India can take this opportunity to promote the justification and rationalization of its interests in Southeast Asia; expand its presence in East Asia, strengthen its political, economic and military cooperation with the United States and its allies, and comprehensively increase India’s influence in international affairs.
Rood in his analysis stated “We are committed to a common vision for the U.S.-India Major Defense Partnership, which we will advance on December 18. The department has agreed to expand military-to-military cooperation and improve interoperability, including by establishing a new tri-service amphibious exercise that will be called Tiger Triumph.”
Rood mentioned “No country in Southeast Asia does more than Singapore to enable a U.S.-forward presence in the Indo-Pacific. More than 100 U.S. warships and 800 to 1,000 U.S. military aircraft transit through Singapore each year. Singapore supports DOD’s rotational deployment of its littoral combat ships and P-8 Poseidon aircraft.”
Singapore forces have four active training units positioned in the United States. “We expect to agree soon on a permanent Singapore fighter training presence in Guam,” Rood said, adding that Singapore is a top purchaser of advanced U.S. weapons systems.
Rood mentioned “Consistent with the policy articulated in the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. continues to make available to Taiwan the defense materiel and services necessary to enable it to maintain sufficient self-defense capability. We are supporting their development of more mobile, survivable and asymmetric capabilities. The ultimate goal is to develop a more combat credible force.”
Rood told the senators “In Vietnam, we are building a productive defense relationship and overcoming the legacy of the Vietnam War.” The U.S. has also transferred a high-endurance Coast Guard cutter to Vietnam. Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper announced during his visit to Hanoi two weeks ago that the U.S. will provide a second such scalpel to Vietnam.