Countering Communist China With the US Indo-Pacific Strategy

CommentaryThe U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy to counter the Chinese regime is making progress, with alliances building and expanding. However, there is still work to be done as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to vie for influence and control in the region.The Indo-Pacific, which spans from the U.S. Pacific coastline to the Indian Ocean, is the focal point of intense competition between the United States and China. Currently, the United States holds dominance in this area, which is home to over half the world’s population, nearly two-thirds of global GDP, and seven of the largest militaries, according to the White House. Consequently, the region hosts the highest concentration of U.S. military personnel and bases outside the United States.The White House launched the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” (IPS) on Feb. 11, 2022, aiming to promote a free and open region, enhance security cooperation, and counter the CCP’s influence. The IPS document states, “From the economic coercion of Australia to the conflict along the Line of Actual Control with India to the growing pressure on Taiwan and bullying of neighbors in the East and South China Seas, our allies and partners in the region bear much of the cost of the PRC’s harmful behavior.” PRC refers to communist China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.The IPS explains that from the end of World War II to the collapse of the USSR, the United States was focused on the Cold War with Russia. Now, geopolitical realities have shifted U.S. priorities to countering the Chinese regime in the Indo-Pacific.The IPS was designed to foster collaboration with allies, partners, and institutions within and beyond the region to boost prosperity and maintain stability. It underscores Washington’s commitment to maintaining a rules-based international order and countering the CCP’s rising influence. The strategy aims to achieve this through enhanced military capabilities, robust alliances, and economic initiatives.Related StoriesThe Indo-Pacific region is shaped by key players such as the United States, China, Japan, India, Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, France, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The U.S. strategy focuses on maintaining regional stability, fostering economic growth, and countering the CCP’s influence through alliances like the Quad (Australia, India, Japan, and the United States), AUKUS (Australia, the UK, and the United States), and the Five Eyes (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the United States).The CCP exerts its influence through economic investments and military actions, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as “One Belt, One Road”) and aggressive actions in the South China Sea. Additionally, Beijing seeks to find Indo-Pacific nations willing to sign security agreements and host Chinese military bases. Japan, a major economic power, plays a crucial role in multilateral frameworks and often acts as a more neutral proxy for U.S. interests, making other Asian countries feel less threatened and more comfortable aligning with regional policies.The IPS has successfully strengthened relationships and alliances. Since 2022, the United States has beefed up defense agreements with Japan, Australia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Papua New Guinea, enhancing military capabilities and cooperation to counter the CCP’s regional influence and ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific. Additionally, this year, a new mini-lateral grouping called the “Squad”—including Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States—was formed to further bolster regional security and collaboration.There is ongoing discussion about expanding the Quad and AUKUS frameworks. The “Quad Plus” concept aims to include additional countries like South Korea, Vietnam, and New Zealand, enhancing cooperation on various issues such as pandemic management and economic resilience.Similarly, an “AUKUS Plus” could potentially include countries like India, Japan, and South Korea, broadening the alliance’s scope to comprehensively address regional security and technological challenges.The Chinese regime’s increased aggression has driven India closer to the United States in terms of security engagement, as evidenced by New Delhi’s growing defense ties with Washington.Additionally, ASEAN partners generally feel more comfortable with India and Japan than with China, which could foster deeper regional cooperation and stability.Despite its successes, the Indo-Pacific strategy faces setbacks and challenges. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), launched in May 2022, aimed to strengthen economic ties and address challenges in the Indo-Pacific region through trade, supply chain resilience, clean economy, and fair economy pillars. However, it faces criticism for lacking substantial funding and comprehensive trade agreements, making it less attractive to regional partners compared to the BRI, thus undermining its effectiveness in counteri

Countering Communist China With the US Indo-Pacific Strategy

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Commentary

The U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy to counter the Chinese regime is making progress, with alliances building and expanding. However, there is still work to be done as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to vie for influence and control in the region.

The Indo-Pacific, which spans from the U.S. Pacific coastline to the Indian Ocean, is the focal point of intense competition between the United States and China. Currently, the United States holds dominance in this area, which is home to over half the world’s population, nearly two-thirds of global GDP, and seven of the largest militaries, according to the White House. Consequently, the region hosts the highest concentration of U.S. military personnel and bases outside the United States.

The White House launched the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” (IPS) on Feb. 11, 2022, aiming to promote a free and open region, enhance security cooperation, and counter the CCP’s influence. The IPS document states, “From the economic coercion of Australia to the conflict along the Line of Actual Control with India to the growing pressure on Taiwan and bullying of neighbors in the East and South China Seas, our allies and partners in the region bear much of the cost of the PRC’s harmful behavior.” PRC refers to communist China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.

The IPS explains that from the end of World War II to the collapse of the USSR, the United States was focused on the Cold War with Russia. Now, geopolitical realities have shifted U.S. priorities to countering the Chinese regime in the Indo-Pacific.

The IPS was designed to foster collaboration with allies, partners, and institutions within and beyond the region to boost prosperity and maintain stability. It underscores Washington’s commitment to maintaining a rules-based international order and countering the CCP’s rising influence. The strategy aims to achieve this through enhanced military capabilities, robust alliances, and economic initiatives.

The Indo-Pacific region is shaped by key players such as the United States, China, Japan, India, Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, France, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The U.S. strategy focuses on maintaining regional stability, fostering economic growth, and countering the CCP’s influence through alliances like the Quad (Australia, India, Japan, and the United States), AUKUS (Australia, the UK, and the United States), and the Five Eyes (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the United States).

The CCP exerts its influence through economic investments and military actions, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as “One Belt, One Road”) and aggressive actions in the South China Sea. Additionally, Beijing seeks to find Indo-Pacific nations willing to sign security agreements and host Chinese military bases. Japan, a major economic power, plays a crucial role in multilateral frameworks and often acts as a more neutral proxy for U.S. interests, making other Asian countries feel less threatened and more comfortable aligning with regional policies.

The IPS has successfully strengthened relationships and alliances. Since 2022, the United States has beefed up defense agreements with Japan, Australia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Papua New Guinea, enhancing military capabilities and cooperation to counter the CCP’s regional influence and ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific. Additionally, this year, a new mini-lateral grouping called the “Squad”—including Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States—was formed to further bolster regional security and collaboration.
There is ongoing discussion about expanding the Quad and AUKUS frameworks. The “Quad Plus” concept aims to include additional countries like South Korea, Vietnam, and New Zealand, enhancing cooperation on various issues such as pandemic management and economic resilience.

Similarly, an “AUKUS Plus” could potentially include countries like India, Japan, and South Korea, broadening the alliance’s scope to comprehensively address regional security and technological challenges.

The Chinese regime’s increased aggression has driven India closer to the United States in terms of security engagement, as evidenced by New Delhi’s growing defense ties with Washington.

Additionally, ASEAN partners generally feel more comfortable with India and Japan than with China, which could foster deeper regional cooperation and stability.
Despite its successes, the Indo-Pacific strategy faces setbacks and challenges. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), launched in May 2022, aimed to strengthen economic ties and address challenges in the Indo-Pacific region through trade, supply chain resilience, clean economy, and fair economy pillars. However, it faces criticism for lacking substantial funding and comprehensive trade agreements, making it less attractive to regional partners compared to the BRI, thus undermining its effectiveness in countering the CCP’s influence.
Another challenge is the shift of several countries away from the U.S. orbit. The Israel-Hamas war and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have strained U.S. relations with some Indo-Pacific nations. China sides with Russia in Ukraine, while India continues to trade with Russia but is increasingly buying arms from the United States. In the Israel-Hamas conflict, Indonesia and Malaysia have taken positions against Israel. Burma (Myanmar) and Cambodia are aligned with China, with Burma also leaning toward Russia.
Additionally, Pacific Island nations are being courted by the CCP. In 2022, the Solomon Islands signed a security pact with China, including provisions for the potential deployment of Chinese security and naval assets, causing concern among traditional security partners like the United States and Australia.

It should be said that despite numerous setbacks, the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy has made significant strides in strengthening alliances and promoting multilateral cooperation. The Indo-Pacific remains free, with the United States holding a dominant position, but the threat from the CCP continues.

To counter Beijing’s BRI, the United States will need to increase its investment and economic engagement through the IPEF. At the same time, the Chinese regime’s increased aggression is inadvertently driving countries closer to the United States, serving American interests in the region.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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