Wei Zongyou: The Biden Administration's "Indo-Pacific Strategy" and Its Influence on China


2022-06-24: [Chinese Article Link]  Biden Government China-United States Relations Security in Asia and the Pacific Indian Strategy The Biden Government's “Indo-Pacific Strategy” is not fundamentally different from the Trump Government in terms of order and strategy. China is regarded as the primary strategic challenge in pursuing the concept of American order in the name of “free and open” and maintaining American hegemony. In contrast to Trump's “American priority” concept and unilateralism, the Biden Government's “Indo-Pacific” strategy places greater emphasis on the network of small groups such as allies, partners and, at the same time, on a multi-pronged approach to foreign, economic, military and even regional governance in advancing strategic objectives. Despite the multifaceted challenges of strategic balance, resource input, alliances and partners and policy coherence, the advancement of this strategy could have a negative impact on China in many areas. Government of Biden, Central American Relations, Security in Asia and the Pacific, Indian Strategy [Introduction by the author] Since Biden's admission to the main White House, the Indo-Pacific region has been placed at the centre of the United States global strategy to advance the vision and strategic objectives of the Indo-Pacific Order in a multi-dimensional, diplomatic, economic and military manner. In February 2022, the Biden Government released the United States Indo-Pacific Strategy report, further clarifying United States strategic objectives and recent policy initiatives in the Indo-Pacific region. As a regional strategy that integrates diplomacy, economics, military and allies and partners, the Biden Government's Indo-Pacific Strategy has seen a number of new developments in terms of means and strategies, programmes of action and China-wide approaches, which will have an important impact on the order of the Asia-Pacific region and on relations between China and the United States. I. The Indo-Pacific Government's vision of order and strategy The Indo-Pacific region is not a conventional concept of geospatial space. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, some of Australia’s international strategic scholars began to propose and use the term, but it was not well known until Obama’s administration pursued the Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy. In an effort to preserve the hegemony of the United States, Trump, after assuming power, tried to hold China hostage in the Asia-Pacific region by raising India, and began to formally use the term “Indians” in official documents instead of the traditional term “Asia-Pacific”, referring to the vast geographical space that runs from the western coast of the United States to the western coast of India. Despite the difference between the philosophy, style and Trump, the Biden government, which is largely depressed in terms of the strategic vision and objectives of the Indo-Pacific region, continues to follow the Trump-era “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and promulgated the US-India Strategy report prior to the release of the National Security Strategy Report, reflecting the high priority accorded to the Indo-Pacific region and the continuity of the two Governments' indoctrination. In March 2021, Biden, in an article signed jointly with the heads of State of Japan, India and Australia, set out its preliminary view of Indian order, which states that the four countries of the United States, Japan and Australia are committed to “a common vision of freedom, openness, resilience and inclusiveness” and “ensuring openness and vitality in the Indo-Pacific region”. During his visit to Indonesia in December of the same year, Secretary of State Blinken further stated that the United States would promote “free and open India: open resolution of issues, transparent and fair rules, free movement of goods, ideas and people, transparent governance and responsive public opinion”. The US-Indian Strategy report clearly proposes to move forward with the “free and open India” and gives a comprehensive picture of the Biden government’s Indian-Turkish vision of order. It focuses on three areas: first, the promotion of American-style democratic values. The report states that the US will support an open society and ensure that the governments of the Indo-Pacific region are able to make independent political decisions. The US will invest in democracy, free media, and civil society in the Indo-Pacific region, promote freedom of information and expression, support independent media, and work together against outside interference and manipulation of information. The United States will also strengthen democracy, the rule of law and democratic governance in the Indo-Pacific region against external “economic coercion” through improved fiscal transparency, anti-corruption in the Indo-Pacific countries and through diplomatic contacts, foreign assistance and joint action with regional organizations. It is easy to see that the Biden Government uses the American values of “free democracy” as a “guide” and a “stamp” for the political system and order of the Indo-Pacific region, under the guise of promoting free democracy in the region and opposing “foreign interference and coercion”, to discredit and hold China hostage and preserve the political influence of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region. Secondly, to ensure the “free movement” of the United States in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and the sky, and to develop standard norms for Xinjiang such as the Internet, Biden, in an article co-sponsored by the leaders of Japan and Australia, stated that the United States should ensure that the Indo-Pacific region abides by “the fundamental principles of international law and freedom of navigation, peaceful settlement of disputes, etc.”. Blinken stressed the need to ensure free and open “land, cyberspace, and the high seas.” The US-Indian Strategy report further stated that the United States would work with like-minded partners to ensure free and openness in the Indo-Pacific region and to ensure the rule of law in the sea and the sky in the region. The report also states that the United States, together with its allies, will “support the rule of law in the Indian Sea such as the East and South Seas” and support the establishment of “open, compatible, reliable and secure networks” that promote “consensual, value-based technical standards” and promote “responsible” behaviour norms in cyberspace. Thirdly, to guard against China and maintain a “balance of influence” in favour of the United States, preserving the unipolar hegemony of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region and preventing the emergence of a “comparable rival” in the global and Indo-Pacific region has been a strategic goal of the United States and a strong expectation of the distribution of power in the region. “The most important long-term planning challenge for the Department of Defense (United States) is to prevent the emergence of competitors with a potential balance of power.” In April 2021, the U.S. General Intelligence Office issued its annual threat assessment report, which states that “China is increasingly becoming an almost equivalent United States competitor (near-peer), challenging the United States in a number of areas, particularly economic, military and technical, in an effort to change global norms”. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy report states that “China is integrating economic, diplomatic, military and technical forces, seeking a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific region, seeking to become the world's most influential Power”, and stresses the need to “establish a balance of influence in the world in favour of the United States, its allies and partners, and a balance of influence in the interest of sharing our interests and values”. In general, the Indo-Thai vision of the Biden Government, under the banner of “free and open”, requires the countries of the region to “take a good look at the United States” in terms of their political systems and values; to ensure “open and free activity” in the United States in the areas of oceans, space and cyberspace in the name of “rules, the rule of law”; and to defend the distribution of power in the Indian Territory in the name of countering the “China challenge” in favour of the United States. In the context of this hegemonic order, the Biden Government has attempted to promote a “big-power competition” zero- and strategic vision in the Indo-Pacific region, which, according to the US-Indian Strategy report, is facing “a growing number of challenges, especially from China” that the United States is paying increasing attention to the Indo-Pacific region. The report, which is more modest than the Trump Government in its terminology of China, is less tactile than “the geopolitical competition between the two different world orders of freedom and authoritarianism” and a vicious attack on China's political system and ruling party, even claiming that “the United States does not seek to change China, but rather the strategic environment in which it finds itself”, has no change in its tone. The Biden government continues to view China as the full range of strategic rivals in the US and as the most serious long-term strategic challenge in the Indo-Pacific region. In its National Defense Strategy 2022, submitted to Congress, the Ministry of Defense views China as “the most important strategic competitor and (US) Department of Defense’s increasingly pressing challenge” to “prioritize China’s challenge in the Indo-Pacific region, and then Russia’s challenge in Europe.” It is clear that the Biden Government's “Indo-Pacific” vision continues to be guided by the idea of large-country competition, particularly China's strategic competition, and that looking at the interaction between the two countries in the Indo-Pacific region from the point of view of the strategic game between China and the United States is a typical “you win and you win” zero-sum thinking. In contrast to the Trump Government's focus on military security, the Biden Government's “Indo-Pacific” strategy, while focusing on competing with China's geostrategic strategies, also highlights regional governance issues such as the economy, science and technology, non-traditional security, and “take care” of the concerns of India's allies and partners. America’s “Indo-Territories” are not just American, but also Indian allies, consistent with their vision and expectations. In other words, the Biden government’s “Indo-Territories” view places emphasis on geostrategic competition and does not forget regional governance issues, which are intended to compete fully with China in the areas of high- and low-political issues. In this strategic perspective, the Biden government has proposed five strategic goals for the United States in the Indo-Pacific region: building a free and open Indo-Pacific region, building extensive intraregional and extra-regional links, promoting regional prosperity, enhancing Indian-Pacific security and building regional resilience to transnational threats. Specifically, China continues to be stigmatized politically under the banner of liberal democracy, competing with China for political influence and public opinion in the Indo-Pacific region; economically, through the Indo-Pacific Economic Initiative, to ensure the commercial interests and influence of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region and to prevent China from transforming the Indian-Pacific region into an “economic backyard” in China through trade, facilities and commercial connectivity; securely, to intensify cooperation with its allies and security partners, to form a heterogeneous and exclusive circle, to increase military deterrence against China through “integrated deterrence” and forward military deployments, and to preserve the military superiority and viability of the United States in the second and even first island chain; and, in regional governance, to address the Covid-19 epidemic, climate change and non-traditional security threats as a diplomatic tool to enhance the international image of the United States and win strategic competition with China. II. Means of implementation and resource inputs As a regional strategy to advance America’s vision of an Indian order and preserve America’s hegemony, the Biden government’s “Indian Strategy” focuses on a combination of diplomatic, economic, and security tools, as well as on alliances and partners to advance strategic goals through small multilateral and group approaches. Furthermore, the Biden Government has developed more detailed priorities and road maps for the implementation of the strategy in the near future and has demonstrated its commitment to the implementation of the Indo-Pacific Strategy by substantially increasing defence spending. (i) “Triple One” means of implementation: the Biden Government's “Indo-Pacific” strategy is implemented with a focus on diplomatic, economic and military co-opts, and does not rely solely on military means. On the diplomatic front, the Biden Government regained the Obama era's front-line diplomatic philosophy, increased its front-line diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region and enhanced the American sense of presence in the region. For more than a year in office, the Biden Government has been engaged in intensive diplomatic offensives against the Indo-Pacific region, not only through frequent head-to-head meetings with India's allies and partners, on a bilateral or small multilateral line, but also through high-frequency visits to the Indian-Pacific region by high-ranking cabinet officials such as the Vice-President, the Secretary of State, the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Commerce, trade representatives, and a change in the neglect and indifference of diplomacy in the area during the Trump period. The United States Indo-Pacific Strategy report proposes to “focus on every corner of the Indo-Pacific region, whether in North-East Asia, South Asia or in South Asia and Oceania (including Pacific island countries),” and to open new embassies and consulates in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in South-East Asia and the Pacific island countries. On the economic front, the Biden Government proposed “B3W” and “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework” as important initiatives to boost the regional economic impact of the United States against China's “one-way” initiative. In June 2021, Biden launched the “Building a Better World” plan during the G-7 Summit, emphasizing that the seven Western countries and other “synergy partners” would strengthen coordination by leveraging private capital through investments in their respective development finance institutions, focusing on investments in the four main areas of climate change, health, digital technology and gender equality, partially meeting the global infrastructure financing needs of over $4 billion in developing countries, and better countering the “one-way” initiative with China. In October of the same year, Biden, on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit, announced that discussions would be held with partners on the establishment of an “Indian-Pacific economic framework”, focusing on areas such as trade facilitation, digital economy and technical standards, supply chain resilience, clean energy, infrastructure and labour standards in the Indian-Pacific region. The United States Indo-Pacific Strategy report further elaborates on the key elements of the framework, namely, strengthening supply chain security and resilience through the development of new trade facilitation rules, especially digital trade rules, and strengthening cooperation with Indian-Pacific allies and partners in the emerging fields of science and technology to safeguard the economic interests of the United States. The United States Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, stated that Biden would officially announce the launching of the “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework” during his visit to Japan in May 2022. In summary, the Biden Government's economic initiative focuses on both hard capital and soft capital, and seeks to compete on all fronts with China's “one-way” initiative, with an impact on China's economy. On the military front, the Biden government has strengthened its military presence and forward deployment in the Western Pacific region by “integrated deterrence,” preserving American regional military hegemony. “integrated deterrence,” an entirely new military concept for the US to meet the security challenges of the twenty-first century, is using all military and non-military tools to work closely with allies and partners to address the challenges. The “integrated deterrent” will use existing capabilities to build new ones, deploy them in new and networked ways, tailor-made to address security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. The United States will work more closely with regional allies and partners to improve coordination, accelerate innovation and ensure that United States allies and partners have the required military capabilities and information tools. United States Secretary of Defense Austin stated that “integrated deterrence” would deter all acts of conflict, including coercion, grey areas and aggression, including enhancing maritime capacity-building in partner countries such as South-East Asia, enhancing operational compatibility with military allies and security partners such as Japan, and increasing Taiwan's military capacity to respond to “coercion”. In the Defence Authorization Act 2022, the United States Congress allocated $7.1 billion to the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) to enhance the military deterrence capacity of the United States and its allies outside the first island chain (including the military bases of Guam, Australia and the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia) through an increased forward military presence in the Indo-Pacific region, enhanced defence cooperation and operational compatibility capacity-building with regional allies and security partners. In March 2022, the Biden Government submitted a budget request for 2023 to Congress, of which the defence budget was requested at $773 billion, an increase of 9.8 per cent over the defence budget that came into effect in 2021. The budget “considers the increasingly pressing challenges of China as a priority for the Ministry of Defence” and strengthens the “integrated deterrent” capacity in the Indo-Pacific region through the Pacific Deterrence Initiative. (ii) The “two, three, four, four” implementation strategy. The Biden government attaches great importance to allies and partners, and by bringing them together to build “me-centred” networks and coalition partners is an important strategy for advancing the “Indian strategy.” The Biden Government's Indo-Pacific Strategy emphasizes that the United States view of Indian order is closely linked to India's allies and partners, and that the United States, together with its allies and partners, must advance America's strategic objectives in the Indo-Pacific region. “A free and open India can only be achieved by building a collective capacity to adapt to the new era, and joint action is now a strategic necessity. In particular, the Biden government wants to advance the “Indian strategy” by using the bilateral military alliance, the trilateral partners of the United States of America, the United States of America and Japan, the “Quadripartite Mechanism” of the United States, Japan and Australia, and the “two, three, four” coalition partnership of the “Five Eyes Alliance,” to safeguard American hegemony. The five United States bilateral military alliances in the Asia-Pacific region are the cornerstone of its “Indian strategy” and the first group of concentric circles for the Biden Government to advance the “Indian strategy”. The Trilateral Security Partnership between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which was established in 2021, and the Trilateral Security Partnership between the United States and Japan, which strengthened three countries'defence security cooperation through the provision of nuclear-powered submarine technology to Australia, extended the defence tentacles to the South Pacific and even the South China Sea; and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's military deterrence through intensive defence consultations and intelligence-sharing. The Biden Government also intends to transform the quadripartite security dialogue mechanism in the United States of America into the leading United States regional group in the Indo-Pacific region, which is “necessary on important indoctrination issues”. When Biden entered the main White House, he not only upgraded the Quadrilateral Mechanism to a summit-level dialogue platform, but also significantly expanded the subject areas of consultation and coordination and established working groups on climate change, vaccines, key and emerging technologies to enhance consultation and cooperation among the four countries in the areas of maritime security, climate change, vaccine production and distribution, technology and supply chain security, and infrastructure. The fourth homogenous group is the old “Five Eyes Alliance.” The Biden government attaches great importance to this intelligence alliance, composed of five Anglo-Saxon countries from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and hopes that it will play a more active role in the competition between the United States and China. In a 2021 report, the United States Congress Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations stated that “in order to cope with the competition of major powers (China and Russia), the “Five Eyes” countries must work more closely together and expand the circle of trust to include other like-minded democracies”. The report proposes to include Japan, India and Germany in the “Five Eyes Alliance.” Although the expansion plan has not been adopted by Congress, the Biden government’s desire to strengthen its “Five Eyes Alliance” cooperation to address the “China Challenge” is an indisputable fact. (iii) “Ten Action Plans.” The Biden Government's Indo-Pacific Strategy Report sets out more detailed implementation plans for the near future, in particular the Ten Action Plans for Foreign Affairs, Economy, Military, Governance and Alliance Relations over the next one to two years, highlighting the importance given to the Indo-Pacific region and the determination to advance the Indo-Pacific Strategy. In particular, diplomatic outreach has taken place in the Indo-Pacific region, including through the addition of embassies and consulates in South-East Asia and Pacific island countries; the economic launching of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, focusing on high-standard trade, digital economy management, supply chain security and resilience, infrastructure investment, and digital communications; the military focus on the Taiwan situation, the implementation of the Pacific Deterrent Initiative and the Maritime Security Initiative, which provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia through the United States-Australia Trilateral Security Partnership; regional governance support to the Indo-Pacific countries in “good governance” and “anti-corruption” and assistance to Pacific island countries in upgrading maritime situational awareness capacity and infrastructure-building; and the strengthening of ASEAN relations in alliance relations with a view to fostering India's regional leadership and deepening cooperation between the United States and Japan. (iv) Resource inputs: the United States military budget for the 2022 fiscal year amounted to $77.7 billion, an increase of 5 per cent over the previous year and more than $60 billion over the $715 billion originally proposed by the Biden Government. Under the original budget proposal of the Biden Government, the military budget for the Indo-Pacific region was $66 billion, including $5.1 billion in the Pacific Deterrence Initiative. Given Congress's increase in the Pacific Deterrence Initiative budget to $7.1 billion and the allocation of an additional $500 million to the Indo-Pacific Command, the United States military investment in the Indo-Pacific region reached at least $68.5 billion. Of the $2023 budget request submitted to Congress by the Biden Government, the defence budget was $773 billion, of which $6.1 billion was for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, with a view to further upgrading the United States forward military presence in the Indo-Pacific region. In contrast to the “big hand” in military inputs, the Biden Government has been so stingy in investing in the economy of the Indo-Pacific region that, despite the high-profile announcement of the “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework”, the willingness and capacity to invest economic resources in the region has been weak. In addition to the $100 million pledged to ASEAN by Biden at the October 2021 video summit with ASEAN leaders in the areas of Covid-19 epidemic, climate change and education, the Biden Government announced only $150 million at the United States-ASEAN Special Summit in May 2022 to deepen economic, security, health and human relations between the United States and ASEAN. III. THE CHALLENGES The Biden Government stressed that the Indo-Pacific region had risen to the top of the United States global strategy and that the United States was focusing its diplomatic, economic and military efforts on comprehensively addressing the “China challenge”. In August 2021, the Biden Government, despite internal and external opposition, withdrew its troops from Afghanistan in order also to complete the strategic shift of the United States and concentrate its efforts on China. However, the outbreak of the Russian-Ukraine conflict shows that the United States has made a fundamental error in its strategic positioning and judgement as China's most important security and strategic challenge, and that its “indo-Pacific” strategy has faced enormous challenges. The ongoing conflict in Russia and the Russian-Ukraine will be accompanied by a new round of adjustments and changes in relations between the major Powers and the international order, and the determination, capacity and commitment of the Biden Government to implement the Indo-Pacific Strategy will be constrained. (i) The strategic balance dilemma of the Russian-Ukraine conflict, which has so far led to the flight of millions of Ukrainians from the country and the displacement of many more. The United States, the European Union and the Group of Seven have imposed unprecedented and severe sanctions on Russia, including on finance, science and technology, energy, trade and core decision-making circles. Through US$ 13.6 billion in military and humanitarian emergency aid, the United States Congress has provided more than US$ 3 billion in military security assistance to Ukraine and plans to again provide US$ 40 billion in economic and military assistance to Ukraine. Some scholars have analysed that the Russian-Ukraine conflict may have been the most prominent event in international politics since the end of the Second World War or will change the relations of major Powers and the course of international politics. Although some officials within the Biden Government claim that the conflict in Russia-Ukraine will not alter the strategic focus of the United States on the Indo-Pacific region and its global strategic sequencing, the fermentation and subsequent impact of the conflict will have a significant bearing on the economic and diplomatic resources that the Biden Government has stretched so far that it will not be able to concentrate its attention on the Indo-Pacific region. According to scholars, in the foreseeable future, the Russian-Ukraine conflict “will become an observer prism for almost all United States diplomatic decisions” and “refocusing on Europe will inevitably divert attention from Asia”. (ii) The differences between the US and India’s allies and partners are at odds. The Biden government has stressed that its “Indian strategy” takes full account of the interests of India’s allies and partners and is a shared vision, but that the Indo-Pacific countries may not fully accept this statement. ASEAN has doubts about the US-Japan-India-Australia Quadrilateral Mechanism, and fears that it poses a challenge to ASEAN’s central status. The Indo-Pacific Strategy’s emphasis on creating a Quadripartite mechanism as a regional grouping clearly threatens to undermine ASEAN’s central position and further exacerbates ASEAN’s doubts. ASEAN is also extremely concerned that the United States has highlighted the strategic competition between the United States and South-East Asia as the main battleground for major players, and is reluctant to stand side by side between the United States and the United States. The Director of Project Planning at the Forum of Cambodian Civil Society Organizations Alliances and the Director of the China-China Society for Development of Relations stated that ASEAN countries were not willing to stand on a team between China and the United States and hoped that the United States would continue to maintain a military presence and continue to develop economic and trade relations with China; that balancing the route or realistic position was a consistent diplomatic strategy of South-East Asian countries, and that it was unlikely that the United States would be able to bring ASEAN together against China as close as the European Union, and that its “Indian strategy” would be difficult to “shatter” in ASEAN. Moreover, as an important member of the Quadrilateral Mechanism in Japan and the United States, India has always had a tradition of great ambition and non-alignment and will not willingly become a second-hand and small partner in the United States “Indo-Pacific Strategy”. Following the outbreak of the Russian-Ukraine conflict, India did not follow the three countries of the United States of America to criticize or oppose Russia at the Summit and Summit of Foreign Ministers of the United States of America and India, which was convened in haste by the Biden Government, but merely to highlight concerns about the humanitarian crisis and to call for a negotiated solution. India, which had not followed the United States in the many United Nations votes on the Russian-Ukraine conflict, had abstained, together with China, which was a source of great dissatisfaction to the United States for threatening to impose sanctions on India for its previous purchase of Russian S-400 anti-missile systems as an example. (iii) Resource input bottlenecks: As a regional strategy covering the entire Indo-Pacific region and covering diplomatic, economic, military and non-traditional security, the Indo-Pacific Strategy requires significant resource inputs, particularly financial ones. However, the federal debt of the United States is now close to $3 trillion, and social welfare reforms, such as domestic infrastructure investments, outbreak relief and education and health care, are urgently needed. It is difficult for the Biden government to spend real money to actually advance the policy agenda of the Indo-Pacific Strategy, with the exception of the military. In addition to the conflict in Russia-Ukraine and the impact of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, the Biden Government's commitment of additional military and humanitarian resources to Ukraine and NATO has further seriously undermined its ability to invest in the Indo-Pacific region. (iv) The economic agenda is out of touch with the needs of the Indo-Pacific region. The Biden government is well aware that if its “Indo-Pacific strategy” focuses solely on military security and ignores the economic dimension, it will not be able to effectively reach out to regional allies and partners, and it will be difficult to compete with China in the Indo-Pacific region. After all, for the vast majority of India’s countries, economic development, increased employment, and better living standards are imperatives. But, owing to domestic protectionism and populist thinking, the US cannot either join or conclude new multilateral free-trade agreements or invest sufficient funds in the Indo-Pacific region to advance its economic agenda. As a result, the “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework” and “Rebuilding a Better World”, proposed by the Biden Government, place greater emphasis on trade facilitation, digital economy rules and infrastructure and communications standard setting, rather than on financial inputs. The United States rules and standards, which appear to be “highly high”, are much more “hardening” to the experience of the developed countries of the United States and the West, and are seriously disconnected from the needs of developing countries such as South-East Asia and the Pacific island countries. What the latter need is less investment and less investment, more efficient, and more cost-effective projects. As one Indonesian diplomat has said, he doubts whether Washington will be able to deliver on its promise to bring more private investment and infrastructure finance to Asia, and it is unrealistic to place hope on US bureaucracies to reform themselves to achieve better results. (v) Policy coherence challenges. The current political polarization in the United States is serious, and while there is much consensus on the attitude of the Democratic Republicans towards China and on the importance of the Indo-Pacific region, it is far from uniform, with considerable differences in policy focus and means of implementation. If the Republicans regain control of one or both houses in the 2022 interim parliamentary elections and even win the 2024 presidential elections, the pace, means and policy priorities of the implementation of the Indo-Pacific Strategy may change significantly. IV. IMPACT ON CHINA While senior officials of the Biden Government stressed that the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” was not a “China strategy” and that “China is only one of the challenges facing the region”, the United States was concerned that the Indo-Pacific region “was seeking to establish a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific region by integrating its economic, diplomatic, military and technical forces and seeking to become the world's most influential Power”. The new developments and policy advances of the Biden Government's Indo-Pacific strategy on the Chinese side will have a negative impact on China's diplomatic, economic, security and strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region. First, to increase diplomatic resistance around China. As mentioned earlier, the Biden government launched an intensive diplomatic campaign against the Indo-Pacific region, with high-ranking cabinet-level officials on every corner of the Indo-Pacific region. The US Indo-Pacific Strategy report also emphasizes listening to the voices of Indian and Pacific allies and partners and matching the Indo-Pacific Strategy with their allies and partners' vision. In its recent action plan, the report highlights the need to intensify diplomatic offensives against South-East Asia and the South Pacific, while at the same time actively bringing together India, ASEAN, the South Pacific and South Korea to address their concerns and needs and to address the “China challenge” collectively and with a united voice. At present, the attitude of the Republic of Korea towards the United States “Indo-Pacific Strategy” has changed considerably. In the joint statement issued on 12 February 2022 by the trilateral meeting of foreign ministers of the United States, Japan and Korea, it not only emphasized that “the three countries share a common view of the free and open Indian-Territories”, it welcomed the newly issued United States Indian-Territories strategy report, which strengthened cooperation among the three countries in the areas of climate change, the Covid-19 epidemic, infrastructure, supply chain security, key and emerging technologies, and referred for the first time to “peace and stability” in the Taiwan Strait. With the new president of Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol, there is a risk of a further diplomatic reversal to the United States and a comprehensive strengthening of cooperation on semiconductor chips, emerging technology and supply chain security, and the Indo-Japanese Strategy. Second, it has had a negative impact on the economic agenda, such as the “one-way” initiative. The “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework,” launched by the Biden government, places particular emphasis on strengthening rules-setting in the areas of trade facilitation, digital trade, network communications, and infrastructure, along with India-Pacific allies and partners, and strengthening export-control cooperation in key and emerging technological areas, with emphasis on semiconductor chips, key raw materials, and supply-chain elastic cooperation with mineral resources, pharmaceutical products, and equipment. The introduction and implementation of this economic framework will have a negative impact on China's digital trade and energy, electricity and digital infrastructure development, scientific and technological cooperation and supply chain security in the South-East Asian region, and will even create new obstacles to China's accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) and the DEPA negotiations. Thirdly, it has had a negative impact on the situation in the Taiwan and South China Seas, and the Biden Government's “Indian and Pacific Strategy” is highly concerned about the issue of Taiwan. The Biden government has on many occasions made an excuse for the sale of arms to Taiwan’s leader, the mainland’s “threat” to Taiwan. Former US Commander Davidson, in a parliamentary hearing in March 2021, claimed that China could take up power for six or 10 years. At the nomination hearing in March of the same year, the current Commander, Aquilino, stated that the most worrying thing for the Indo-Pacific region was “the taking over of Taiwan by force from mainland China”. After Biden came to power, not only did it perpetuate the excesses of the Trump administration on the Taiwan issue at the end of its term of office, it abandoned some of the long-standing restrictions imposed by the United States Government on Taiwan's interaction, and it even more asserted “the need to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, including support for Taiwan's ability to defend itself and ensure that the future environment of Taiwan is determined peacefully in accordance with the wishes and best interests of its people”. In the Indo-Pacific Strategic Report issued by the Biden Government, Taiwan was listed as a security partner of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, proposing to strengthen the military deterrence capabilities of the United States and its allies and partners by developing new military capabilities and implementing measures such as the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, and to “deter” the continental anti-Taiwan. On 13 May 2022, Biden signed a bill to “help” Taiwan obtain observer status in the General Assembly at the World Health Organization, which highlights the strategic ambitions of the Biden Government to maintain the division of the two sides and to “opposite China”. The Biden Government raised the level of exchange among United States officials, increased the sale of weapons to Taiwan and increased Taiwan's so-called “asymmetrical self-defence capabilities”, sending the wrong signal to the island's Taiwan independence forces and not contributing to the stability of the situation in the Taiwan Strait. Through its strategy of “integrated deterrence”, the United States has strengthened its forward military presence and new military technology inputs in the Indo-Pacific region, sending frequent warships “crossing” the Taiwan Strait and gathering “concerns” about the situation in the Taiwan Strait among its allies, such as Japan and Australia, will further exacerbate tensions in the Taiwan Strait and turn the Taiwan Strait into a frontline in the Chinese-American military struggle. The Biden government’s “Indo-Pacific Strategy” initiative on the South China Sea is also not conducive to peace and stability in the South China Sea situation. First, by providing military and maritime assistance to South-East Asian countries through the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and the Maritime Security Initiative, enhancing their maritime and maritime situational awareness capabilities, and in effect encouraging the military adventures of the ASEAN South China Sea sonar countries to create new confrontations and confrontations. Secondly, the emphasis on the so-called international maritime rules, the requirement that China comply with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and accept the award of the “South China Sea Arbitration”, the issuance of the new Maritime Boundary Policy Paper No. 150, and the encouragement of countries such as Viet Nam and Malaysia to resort to international arbitration in the South China Sea dispute, are aimed at challenging China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in parts of the South China Sea atolls through legal wars, rules wars and battles of public opinion, as well as disturbing the situation in the South China Sea. Third, through small multilateral mechanisms of regional allies and partners such as the United States of America, the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America and the Republic of Korea, increased attention to and coordination of positions on the South China Sea issues, increased capacity-building on ocean capabilities and marine situational awareness of other South China Sea sound-source parties, and “strength-racking” with China and pressure on China. The fourth is the dispatch of the United States Coast Guard into the South China Sea area in conjunction with South-East Asian countries to “protect” their marine resources, such as fisheries, and the American version of Operation Gray Zone in the South China Sea, which erodes China's maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. Fourth, China’s neighbors’ strategic environment has deteriorated. After Biden’s rule, he worked hard to engage his allies, both within and outside the country, in the Indo-Pacific region, including by strengthening traditional bilateral military alliances, upgrading the US-Japan-India-Australia trilateral mechanism, forming a US-Australia-AUKUS security partner, and putting pressure on China on the Taiwan and South China Seas issues to stir up the security situation in the region. In March 2021, the British Government released the Global Britain in the Age of Competition: A Comprehensive Assessment of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, proposing a “tilt to the Indo-Pacific” policy to engage more deeply in the Indo-Pacific region on three fronts: economic, security and values. In September of the same year, the European Commission launched the EU Indo-Pacific Cooperation Strategy, which proposes increased engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, building partnerships with countries such as the United States, India, Japan and ASEAN, strengthening a rules-based international order, addressing global challenges and promoting democracy, the rule of law, human rights, etc. In March 2022, the United States held its first Indo-Pacific consultation with the United Kingdom, underscoring their commitment to coordinating the United States “Indian Strategy” and the United Kingdom's “Indo-Territories” policy. Together with the previous French-German Indo-Pacific policy document, Europe’s overall policy or strategic focus and involvement in the Indo-Pacific region has increased. Europe’s “direction” to the Indo-Pacific region, together with increased coordination and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, such as Japan and Australia, has led to an escalation in the strategic games of the major powers in the Indo-Pacific region. V. CONCLUSION The Biden government’s “Indian strategy” reflects America’s hegemonistic vision of order and the zero-strategic view of big-power competition. By bringing together allies, the Biden government has formed small groups of all kinds to increase diplomatic, economic, and military investment in the Indo-Pacific region, essentially to contain and neutralize China’s influence and preserve American regional hegemony. However, the Russian-Ukraine conflict and the concerns of US allies over the increasing strategic competition between China and the United States suggest that the judgement and strategy of the United States, which regards China as a major strategic challenge, are neither in keeping with its own global and long-term strategic interests, nor are it easy to secure the sincere support of most allies and will exacerbate regional tensions and Chinese-American competition and confrontation. In a video interview with President Biden of the United States in November 2021, President Xi Jinping noted that one of the most important events in international relations over the past 50 years had been the restoration and development of Central-American relations for the benefit of both countries and the world. The most important thing in international relations in the next 50 years is that the US and China must find the right way to live together. As two major powers with different histories, cultures, systems, and stages of development, the differences and even contradictions between China and the United States are perfectly normal, and “there are and will be differences between the past and the present.” The key is to manage the differences. If China and China develop with coloured glasses, view China-US relations with hegemonic and zero-strategic views, and build anti-China circles with allies, the Biden government will find it difficult to get out of the anti-China policy trap left by its predecessors, it will also cast a new shadow on China-US relations and regional order. * The present document is the results of a phased study entitled “New trends in cooperation between the US and the Indo-Australian countries under the Strategic Framework” (Project Approval No. 20AGJ009) of the National Fund for Social Science, 2020. Biden Government China-United States Relations Security in Asia and the Pacific Indian Strategy This post is edited as follows: Poster: Ideas of Love (http://www.aisixiang.com), column: Academies of Heaven > International Relations > Review of International Relations Link to this paper: http://www.aisixiang.com/data/134887.html Source: International Studies, 2022, 5 issues Enter an e-mail address in the box, separated by a semi-accompanied comma (,) between multiple emails.


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Wei Zongyou: The Biden Administration's "Indo-Pacific Strategy" and Its Influence on China


2022-06-24: [Article Link]  Biden Government China-United States Relations Security in Asia and the Pacific Indian Strategy The Biden Government's “Indo-Pacific Strategy” is not fundamentally different from the Trump Government in terms of order and strategy. China is regarded as the primary strategic challenge in pursuing the concept of American order in the name of “free and open” and maintaining American hegemony. In contrast to Trump's “American priority” concept and unilateralism, the Biden Government's “Indo-Pacific” strategy places greater emphasis on the network of small groups such as allies, partners and, at the same time, on a multi-pronged approach to foreign, economic, military and even regional governance in advancing strategic objectives. Despite the multifaceted challenges of strategic balance, resource input, alliances and partners and policy coherence, the advancement of this strategy could have a negative impact on China in many areas. Government of Biden, Central American Relations, Security in Asia and the Pacific, Indian Strategy [Introduction by the author] Since Biden's admission to the main White House, the Indo-Pacific region has been placed at the centre of the United States global strategy to advance the vision and strategic objectives of the Indo-Pacific Order in a multi-dimensional, diplomatic, economic and military manner. In February 2022, the Biden Government released the United States Indo-Pacific Strategy report, further clarifying United States strategic objectives and recent policy initiatives in the Indo-Pacific region. As a regional strategy that integrates diplomacy, economics, military and allies and partners, the Biden Government's Indo-Pacific Strategy has seen a number of new developments in terms of means and strategies, programmes of action and China-wide approaches, which will have an important impact on the order of the Asia-Pacific region and on relations between China and the United States. I. The Indo-Pacific Government's vision of order and strategy The Indo-Pacific region is not a conventional concept of geospatial space. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, some of Australia’s international strategic scholars began to propose and use the term, but it was not well known until Obama’s administration pursued the Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy. In an effort to preserve the hegemony of the United States, Trump, after assuming power, tried to hold China hostage in the Asia-Pacific region by raising India, and began to formally use the term “Indians” in official documents instead of the traditional term “Asia-Pacific”, referring to the vast geographical space that runs from the western coast of the United States to the western coast of India. Despite the difference between the philosophy, style and Trump, the Biden government, which is largely depressed in terms of the strategic vision and objectives of the Indo-Pacific region, continues to follow the Trump-era “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and promulgated the US-India Strategy report prior to the release of the National Security Strategy Report, reflecting the high priority accorded to the Indo-Pacific region and the continuity of the two Governments' indoctrination. In March 2021, Biden, in an article signed jointly with the heads of State of Japan, India and Australia, set out its preliminary view of Indian order, which states that the four countries of the United States, Japan and Australia are committed to “a common vision of freedom, openness, resilience and inclusiveness” and “ensuring openness and vitality in the Indo-Pacific region”. During his visit to Indonesia in December of the same year, Secretary of State Blinken further stated that the United States would promote “free and open India: open resolution of issues, transparent and fair rules, free movement of goods, ideas and people, transparent governance and responsive public opinion”. The US-Indian Strategy report clearly proposes to move forward with the “free and open India” and gives a comprehensive picture of the Biden government’s Indian-Turkish vision of order. It focuses on three areas: first, the promotion of American-style democratic values. The report states that the US will support an open society and ensure that the governments of the Indo-Pacific region are able to make independent political decisions. The US will invest in democracy, free media, and civil society in the Indo-Pacific region, promote freedom of information and expression, support independent media, and work together against outside interference and manipulation of information. The United States will also strengthen democracy, the rule of law and democratic governance in the Indo-Pacific region against external “economic coercion” through improved fiscal transparency, anti-corruption in the Indo-Pacific countries and through diplomatic contacts, foreign assistance and joint action with regional organizations. It is easy to see that the Biden Government uses the American values of “free democracy” as a “guide” and a “stamp” for the political system and order of the Indo-Pacific region, under the guise of promoting free democracy in the region and opposing “foreign interference and coercion”, to discredit and hold China hostage and preserve the political influence of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region. Secondly, to ensure the “free movement” of the United States in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and the sky, and to develop standard norms for Xinjiang such as the Internet, Biden, in an article co-sponsored by the leaders of Japan and Australia, stated that the United States should ensure that the Indo-Pacific region abides by “the fundamental principles of international law and freedom of navigation, peaceful settlement of disputes, etc.”. Blinken stressed the need to ensure free and open “land, cyberspace, and the high seas.” The US-Indian Strategy report further stated that the United States would work with like-minded partners to ensure free and openness in the Indo-Pacific region and to ensure the rule of law in the sea and the sky in the region. The report also states that the United States, together with its allies, will “support the rule of law in the Indian Sea such as the East and South Seas” and support the establishment of “open, compatible, reliable and secure networks” that promote “consensual, value-based technical standards” and promote “responsible” behaviour norms in cyberspace. Thirdly, to guard against China and maintain a “balance of influence” in favour of the United States, preserving the unipolar hegemony of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region and preventing the emergence of a “comparable rival” in the global and Indo-Pacific region has been a strategic goal of the United States and a strong expectation of the distribution of power in the region. “The most important long-term planning challenge for the Department of Defense (United States) is to prevent the emergence of competitors with a potential balance of power.” In April 2021, the U.S. General Intelligence Office issued its annual threat assessment report, which states that “China is increasingly becoming an almost equivalent United States competitor (near-peer), challenging the United States in a number of areas, particularly economic, military and technical, in an effort to change global norms”. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy report states that “China is integrating economic, diplomatic, military and technical forces, seeking a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific region, seeking to become the world's most influential Power”, and stresses the need to “establish a balance of influence in the world in favour of the United States, its allies and partners, and a balance of influence in the interest of sharing our interests and values”. In general, the Indo-Thai vision of the Biden Government, under the banner of “free and open”, requires the countries of the region to “take a good look at the United States” in terms of their political systems and values; to ensure “open and free activity” in the United States in the areas of oceans, space and cyberspace in the name of “rules, the rule of law”; and to defend the distribution of power in the Indian Territory in the name of countering the “China challenge” in favour of the United States. In the context of this hegemonic order, the Biden Government has attempted to promote a “big-power competition” zero- and strategic vision in the Indo-Pacific region, which, according to the US-Indian Strategy report, is facing “a growing number of challenges, especially from China” that the United States is paying increasing attention to the Indo-Pacific region. The report, which is more modest than the Trump Government in its terminology of China, is less tactile than “the geopolitical competition between the two different world orders of freedom and authoritarianism” and a vicious attack on China's political system and ruling party, even claiming that “the United States does not seek to change China, but rather the strategic environment in which it finds itself”, has no change in its tone. The Biden government continues to view China as the full range of strategic rivals in the US and as the most serious long-term strategic challenge in the Indo-Pacific region. In its National Defense Strategy 2022, submitted to Congress, the Ministry of Defense views China as “the most important strategic competitor and (US) Department of Defense’s increasingly pressing challenge” to “prioritize China’s challenge in the Indo-Pacific region, and then Russia’s challenge in Europe.” It is clear that the Biden Government's “Indo-Pacific” vision continues to be guided by the idea of large-country competition, particularly China's strategic competition, and that looking at the interaction between the two countries in the Indo-Pacific region from the point of view of the strategic game between China and the United States is a typical “you win and you win” zero-sum thinking. In contrast to the Trump Government's focus on military security, the Biden Government's “Indo-Pacific” strategy, while focusing on competing with China's geostrategic strategies, also highlights regional governance issues such as the economy, science and technology, non-traditional security, and “take care” of the concerns of India's allies and partners. America’s “Indo-Territories” are not just American, but also Indian allies, consistent with their vision and expectations. In other words, the Biden government’s “Indo-Territories” view places emphasis on geostrategic competition and does not forget regional governance issues, which are intended to compete fully with China in the areas of high- and low-political issues. In this strategic perspective, the Biden government has proposed five strategic goals for the United States in the Indo-Pacific region: building a free and open Indo-Pacific region, building extensive intraregional and extra-regional links, promoting regional prosperity, enhancing Indian-Pacific security and building regional resilience to transnational threats. Specifically, China continues to be stigmatized politically under the banner of liberal democracy, competing with China for political influence and public opinion in the Indo-Pacific region; economically, through the Indo-Pacific Economic Initiative, to ensure the commercial interests and influence of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region and to prevent China from transforming the Indian-Pacific region into an “economic backyard” in China through trade, facilities and commercial connectivity; securely, to intensify cooperation with its allies and security partners, to form a heterogeneous and exclusive circle, to increase military deterrence against China through “integrated deterrence” and forward military deployments, and to preserve the military superiority and viability of the United States in the second and even first island chain; and, in regional governance, to address the Covid-19 epidemic, climate change and non-traditional security threats as a diplomatic tool to enhance the international image of the United States and win strategic competition with China. II. Means of implementation and resource inputs As a regional strategy to advance America’s vision of an Indian order and preserve America’s hegemony, the Biden government’s “Indian Strategy” focuses on a combination of diplomatic, economic, and security tools, as well as on alliances and partners to advance strategic goals through small multilateral and group approaches. Furthermore, the Biden Government has developed more detailed priorities and road maps for the implementation of the strategy in the near future and has demonstrated its commitment to the implementation of the Indo-Pacific Strategy by substantially increasing defence spending. (i) “Triple One” means of implementation: the Biden Government's “Indo-Pacific” strategy is implemented with a focus on diplomatic, economic and military co-opts, and does not rely solely on military means. On the diplomatic front, the Biden Government regained the Obama era's front-line diplomatic philosophy, increased its front-line diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region and enhanced the American sense of presence in the region. For more than a year in office, the Biden Government has been engaged in intensive diplomatic offensives against the Indo-Pacific region, not only through frequent head-to-head meetings with India's allies and partners, on a bilateral or small multilateral line, but also through high-frequency visits to the Indian-Pacific region by high-ranking cabinet officials such as the Vice-President, the Secretary of State, the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Commerce, trade representatives, and a change in the neglect and indifference of diplomacy in the area during the Trump period. The United States Indo-Pacific Strategy report proposes to “focus on every corner of the Indo-Pacific region, whether in North-East Asia, South Asia or in South Asia and Oceania (including Pacific island countries),” and to open new embassies and consulates in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in South-East Asia and the Pacific island countries. On the economic front, the Biden Government proposed “B3W” and “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework” as important initiatives to boost the regional economic impact of the United States against China's “one-way” initiative. In June 2021, Biden launched the “Building a Better World” plan during the G-7 Summit, emphasizing that the seven Western countries and other “synergy partners” would strengthen coordination by leveraging private capital through investments in their respective development finance institutions, focusing on investments in the four main areas of climate change, health, digital technology and gender equality, partially meeting the global infrastructure financing needs of over $4 billion in developing countries, and better countering the “one-way” initiative with China. In October of the same year, Biden, on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit, announced that discussions would be held with partners on the establishment of an “Indian-Pacific economic framework”, focusing on areas such as trade facilitation, digital economy and technical standards, supply chain resilience, clean energy, infrastructure and labour standards in the Indian-Pacific region. The United States Indo-Pacific Strategy report further elaborates on the key elements of the framework, namely, strengthening supply chain security and resilience through the development of new trade facilitation rules, especially digital trade rules, and strengthening cooperation with Indian-Pacific allies and partners in the emerging fields of science and technology to safeguard the economic interests of the United States. The United States Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, stated that Biden would officially announce the launching of the “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework” during his visit to Japan in May 2022. In summary, the Biden Government's economic initiative focuses on both hard capital and soft capital, and seeks to compete on all fronts with China's “one-way” initiative, with an impact on China's economy. On the military front, the Biden government has strengthened its military presence and forward deployment in the Western Pacific region by “integrated deterrence,” preserving American regional military hegemony. “integrated deterrence,” an entirely new military concept for the US to meet the security challenges of the twenty-first century, is using all military and non-military tools to work closely with allies and partners to address the challenges. The “integrated deterrent” will use existing capabilities to build new ones, deploy them in new and networked ways, tailor-made to address security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. The United States will work more closely with regional allies and partners to improve coordination, accelerate innovation and ensure that United States allies and partners have the required military capabilities and information tools. United States Secretary of Defense Austin stated that “integrated deterrence” would deter all acts of conflict, including coercion, grey areas and aggression, including enhancing maritime capacity-building in partner countries such as South-East Asia, enhancing operational compatibility with military allies and security partners such as Japan, and increasing Taiwan's military capacity to respond to “coercion”. In the Defence Authorization Act 2022, the United States Congress allocated $7.1 billion to the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) to enhance the military deterrence capacity of the United States and its allies outside the first island chain (including the military bases of Guam, Australia and the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia) through an increased forward military presence in the Indo-Pacific region, enhanced defence cooperation and operational compatibility capacity-building with regional allies and security partners. In March 2022, the Biden Government submitted a budget request for 2023 to Congress, of which the defence budget was requested at $773 billion, an increase of 9.8 per cent over the defence budget that came into effect in 2021. The budget “considers the increasingly pressing challenges of China as a priority for the Ministry of Defence” and strengthens the “integrated deterrent” capacity in the Indo-Pacific region through the Pacific Deterrence Initiative. (ii) The “two, three, four, four” implementation strategy. The Biden government attaches great importance to allies and partners, and by bringing them together to build “me-centred” networks and coalition partners is an important strategy for advancing the “Indian strategy.” The Biden Government's Indo-Pacific Strategy emphasizes that the United States view of Indian order is closely linked to India's allies and partners, and that the United States, together with its allies and partners, must advance America's strategic objectives in the Indo-Pacific region. “A free and open India can only be achieved by building a collective capacity to adapt to the new era, and joint action is now a strategic necessity. In particular, the Biden government wants to advance the “Indian strategy” by using the bilateral military alliance, the trilateral partners of the United States of America, the United States of America and Japan, the “Quadripartite Mechanism” of the United States, Japan and Australia, and the “two, three, four” coalition partnership of the “Five Eyes Alliance,” to safeguard American hegemony. The five United States bilateral military alliances in the Asia-Pacific region are the cornerstone of its “Indian strategy” and the first group of concentric circles for the Biden Government to advance the “Indian strategy”. The Trilateral Security Partnership between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which was established in 2021, and the Trilateral Security Partnership between the United States and Japan, which strengthened three countries'defence security cooperation through the provision of nuclear-powered submarine technology to Australia, extended the defence tentacles to the South Pacific and even the South China Sea; and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's military deterrence through intensive defence consultations and intelligence-sharing. The Biden Government also intends to transform the quadripartite security dialogue mechanism in the United States of America into the leading United States regional group in the Indo-Pacific region, which is “necessary on important indoctrination issues”. When Biden entered the main White House, he not only upgraded the Quadrilateral Mechanism to a summit-level dialogue platform, but also significantly expanded the subject areas of consultation and coordination and established working groups on climate change, vaccines, key and emerging technologies to enhance consultation and cooperation among the four countries in the areas of maritime security, climate change, vaccine production and distribution, technology and supply chain security, and infrastructure. The fourth homogenous group is the old “Five Eyes Alliance.” The Biden government attaches great importance to this intelligence alliance, composed of five Anglo-Saxon countries from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and hopes that it will play a more active role in the competition between the United States and China. In a 2021 report, the United States Congress Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations stated that “in order to cope with the competition of major powers (China and Russia), the “Five Eyes” countries must work more closely together and expand the circle of trust to include other like-minded democracies”. The report proposes to include Japan, India and Germany in the “Five Eyes Alliance.” Although the expansion plan has not been adopted by Congress, the Biden government’s desire to strengthen its “Five Eyes Alliance” cooperation to address the “China Challenge” is an indisputable fact. (iii) “Ten Action Plans.” The Biden Government's Indo-Pacific Strategy Report sets out more detailed implementation plans for the near future, in particular the Ten Action Plans for Foreign Affairs, Economy, Military, Governance and Alliance Relations over the next one to two years, highlighting the importance given to the Indo-Pacific region and the determination to advance the Indo-Pacific Strategy. In particular, diplomatic outreach has taken place in the Indo-Pacific region, including through the addition of embassies and consulates in South-East Asia and Pacific island countries; the economic launching of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, focusing on high-standard trade, digital economy management, supply chain security and resilience, infrastructure investment, and digital communications; the military focus on the Taiwan situation, the implementation of the Pacific Deterrent Initiative and the Maritime Security Initiative, which provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia through the United States-Australia Trilateral Security Partnership; regional governance support to the Indo-Pacific countries in “good governance” and “anti-corruption” and assistance to Pacific island countries in upgrading maritime situational awareness capacity and infrastructure-building; and the strengthening of ASEAN relations in alliance relations with a view to fostering India's regional leadership and deepening cooperation between the United States and Japan. (iv) Resource inputs: the United States military budget for the 2022 fiscal year amounted to $77.7 billion, an increase of 5 per cent over the previous year and more than $60 billion over the $715 billion originally proposed by the Biden Government. Under the original budget proposal of the Biden Government, the military budget for the Indo-Pacific region was $66 billion, including $5.1 billion in the Pacific Deterrence Initiative. Given Congress's increase in the Pacific Deterrence Initiative budget to $7.1 billion and the allocation of an additional $500 million to the Indo-Pacific Command, the United States military investment in the Indo-Pacific region reached at least $68.5 billion. Of the $2023 budget request submitted to Congress by the Biden Government, the defence budget was $773 billion, of which $6.1 billion was for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, with a view to further upgrading the United States forward military presence in the Indo-Pacific region. In contrast to the “big hand” in military inputs, the Biden Government has been so stingy in investing in the economy of the Indo-Pacific region that, despite the high-profile announcement of the “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework”, the willingness and capacity to invest economic resources in the region has been weak. In addition to the $100 million pledged to ASEAN by Biden at the October 2021 video summit with ASEAN leaders in the areas of Covid-19 epidemic, climate change and education, the Biden Government announced only $150 million at the United States-ASEAN Special Summit in May 2022 to deepen economic, security, health and human relations between the United States and ASEAN. III. THE CHALLENGES The Biden Government stressed that the Indo-Pacific region had risen to the top of the United States global strategy and that the United States was focusing its diplomatic, economic and military efforts on comprehensively addressing the “China challenge”. In August 2021, the Biden Government, despite internal and external opposition, withdrew its troops from Afghanistan in order also to complete the strategic shift of the United States and concentrate its efforts on China. However, the outbreak of the Russian-Ukraine conflict shows that the United States has made a fundamental error in its strategic positioning and judgement as China's most important security and strategic challenge, and that its “indo-Pacific” strategy has faced enormous challenges. The ongoing conflict in Russia and the Russian-Ukraine will be accompanied by a new round of adjustments and changes in relations between the major Powers and the international order, and the determination, capacity and commitment of the Biden Government to implement the Indo-Pacific Strategy will be constrained. (i) The strategic balance dilemma of the Russian-Ukraine conflict, which has so far led to the flight of millions of Ukrainians from the country and the displacement of many more. The United States, the European Union and the Group of Seven have imposed unprecedented and severe sanctions on Russia, including on finance, science and technology, energy, trade and core decision-making circles. Through US$ 13.6 billion in military and humanitarian emergency aid, the United States Congress has provided more than US$ 3 billion in military security assistance to Ukraine and plans to again provide US$ 40 billion in economic and military assistance to Ukraine. Some scholars have analysed that the Russian-Ukraine conflict may have been the most prominent event in international politics since the end of the Second World War or will change the relations of major Powers and the course of international politics. Although some officials within the Biden Government claim that the conflict in Russia-Ukraine will not alter the strategic focus of the United States on the Indo-Pacific region and its global strategic sequencing, the fermentation and subsequent impact of the conflict will have a significant bearing on the economic and diplomatic resources that the Biden Government has stretched so far that it will not be able to concentrate its attention on the Indo-Pacific region. According to scholars, in the foreseeable future, the Russian-Ukraine conflict “will become an observer prism for almost all United States diplomatic decisions” and “refocusing on Europe will inevitably divert attention from Asia”. (ii) The differences between the US and India’s allies and partners are at odds. The Biden government has stressed that its “Indian strategy” takes full account of the interests of India’s allies and partners and is a shared vision, but that the Indo-Pacific countries may not fully accept this statement. ASEAN has doubts about the US-Japan-India-Australia Quadrilateral Mechanism, and fears that it poses a challenge to ASEAN’s central status. The Indo-Pacific Strategy’s emphasis on creating a Quadripartite mechanism as a regional grouping clearly threatens to undermine ASEAN’s central position and further exacerbates ASEAN’s doubts. ASEAN is also extremely concerned that the United States has highlighted the strategic competition between the United States and South-East Asia as the main battleground for major players, and is reluctant to stand side by side between the United States and the United States. The Director of Project Planning at the Forum of Cambodian Civil Society Organizations Alliances and the Director of the China-China Society for Development of Relations stated that ASEAN countries were not willing to stand on a team between China and the United States and hoped that the United States would continue to maintain a military presence and continue to develop economic and trade relations with China; that balancing the route or realistic position was a consistent diplomatic strategy of South-East Asian countries, and that it was unlikely that the United States would be able to bring ASEAN together against China as close as the European Union, and that its “Indian strategy” would be difficult to “shatter” in ASEAN. Moreover, as an important member of the Quadrilateral Mechanism in Japan and the United States, India has always had a tradition of great ambition and non-alignment and will not willingly become a second-hand and small partner in the United States “Indo-Pacific Strategy”. Following the outbreak of the Russian-Ukraine conflict, India did not follow the three countries of the United States of America to criticize or oppose Russia at the Summit and Summit of Foreign Ministers of the United States of America and India, which was convened in haste by the Biden Government, but merely to highlight concerns about the humanitarian crisis and to call for a negotiated solution. India, which had not followed the United States in the many United Nations votes on the Russian-Ukraine conflict, had abstained, together with China, which was a source of great dissatisfaction to the United States for threatening to impose sanctions on India for its previous purchase of Russian S-400 anti-missile systems as an example. (iii) Resource input bottlenecks: As a regional strategy covering the entire Indo-Pacific region and covering diplomatic, economic, military and non-traditional security, the Indo-Pacific Strategy requires significant resource inputs, particularly financial ones. However, the federal debt of the United States is now close to $3 trillion, and social welfare reforms, such as domestic infrastructure investments, outbreak relief and education and health care, are urgently needed. It is difficult for the Biden government to spend real money to actually advance the policy agenda of the Indo-Pacific Strategy, with the exception of the military. In addition to the conflict in Russia-Ukraine and the impact of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, the Biden Government's commitment of additional military and humanitarian resources to Ukraine and NATO has further seriously undermined its ability to invest in the Indo-Pacific region. (iv) The economic agenda is out of touch with the needs of the Indo-Pacific region. The Biden government is well aware that if its “Indo-Pacific strategy” focuses solely on military security and ignores the economic dimension, it will not be able to effectively reach out to regional allies and partners, and it will be difficult to compete with China in the Indo-Pacific region. After all, for the vast majority of India’s countries, economic development, increased employment, and better living standards are imperatives. But, owing to domestic protectionism and populist thinking, the US cannot either join or conclude new multilateral free-trade agreements or invest sufficient funds in the Indo-Pacific region to advance its economic agenda. As a result, the “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework” and “Rebuilding a Better World”, proposed by the Biden Government, place greater emphasis on trade facilitation, digital economy rules and infrastructure and communications standard setting, rather than on financial inputs. The United States rules and standards, which appear to be “highly high”, are much more “hardening” to the experience of the developed countries of the United States and the West, and are seriously disconnected from the needs of developing countries such as South-East Asia and the Pacific island countries. What the latter need is less investment and less investment, more efficient, and more cost-effective projects. As one Indonesian diplomat has said, he doubts whether Washington will be able to deliver on its promise to bring more private investment and infrastructure finance to Asia, and it is unrealistic to place hope on US bureaucracies to reform themselves to achieve better results. (v) Policy coherence challenges. The current political polarization in the United States is serious, and while there is much consensus on the attitude of the Democratic Republicans towards China and on the importance of the Indo-Pacific region, it is far from uniform, with considerable differences in policy focus and means of implementation. If the Republicans regain control of one or both houses in the 2022 interim parliamentary elections and even win the 2024 presidential elections, the pace, means and policy priorities of the implementation of the Indo-Pacific Strategy may change significantly. IV. IMPACT ON CHINA While senior officials of the Biden Government stressed that the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” was not a “China strategy” and that “China is only one of the challenges facing the region”, the United States was concerned that the Indo-Pacific region “was seeking to establish a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific region by integrating its economic, diplomatic, military and technical forces and seeking to become the world's most influential Power”. The new developments and policy advances of the Biden Government's Indo-Pacific strategy on the Chinese side will have a negative impact on China's diplomatic, economic, security and strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region. First, to increase diplomatic resistance around China. As mentioned earlier, the Biden government launched an intensive diplomatic campaign against the Indo-Pacific region, with high-ranking cabinet-level officials on every corner of the Indo-Pacific region. The US Indo-Pacific Strategy report also emphasizes listening to the voices of Indian and Pacific allies and partners and matching the Indo-Pacific Strategy with their allies and partners' vision. In its recent action plan, the report highlights the need to intensify diplomatic offensives against South-East Asia and the South Pacific, while at the same time actively bringing together India, ASEAN, the South Pacific and South Korea to address their concerns and needs and to address the “China challenge” collectively and with a united voice. At present, the attitude of the Republic of Korea towards the United States “Indo-Pacific Strategy” has changed considerably. In the joint statement issued on 12 February 2022 by the trilateral meeting of foreign ministers of the United States, Japan and Korea, it not only emphasized that “the three countries share a common view of the free and open Indian-Territories”, it welcomed the newly issued United States Indian-Territories strategy report, which strengthened cooperation among the three countries in the areas of climate change, the Covid-19 epidemic, infrastructure, supply chain security, key and emerging technologies, and referred for the first time to “peace and stability” in the Taiwan Strait. With the new president of Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol, there is a risk of a further diplomatic reversal to the United States and a comprehensive strengthening of cooperation on semiconductor chips, emerging technology and supply chain security, and the Indo-Japanese Strategy. Second, it has had a negative impact on the economic agenda, such as the “one-way” initiative. The “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework,” launched by the Biden government, places particular emphasis on strengthening rules-setting in the areas of trade facilitation, digital trade, network communications, and infrastructure, along with India-Pacific allies and partners, and strengthening export-control cooperation in key and emerging technological areas, with emphasis on semiconductor chips, key raw materials, and supply-chain elastic cooperation with mineral resources, pharmaceutical products, and equipment. The introduction and implementation of this economic framework will have a negative impact on China's digital trade and energy, electricity and digital infrastructure development, scientific and technological cooperation and supply chain security in the South-East Asian region, and will even create new obstacles to China's accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) and the DEPA negotiations. Thirdly, it has had a negative impact on the situation in the Taiwan and South China Seas, and the Biden Government's “Indian and Pacific Strategy” is highly concerned about the issue of Taiwan. The Biden government has on many occasions made an excuse for the sale of arms to Taiwan’s leader, the mainland’s “threat” to Taiwan. Former US Commander Davidson, in a parliamentary hearing in March 2021, claimed that China could take up power for six or 10 years. At the nomination hearing in March of the same year, the current Commander, Aquilino, stated that the most worrying thing for the Indo-Pacific region was “the taking over of Taiwan by force from mainland China”. After Biden came to power, not only did it perpetuate the excesses of the Trump administration on the Taiwan issue at the end of its term of office, it abandoned some of the long-standing restrictions imposed by the United States Government on Taiwan's interaction, and it even more asserted “the need to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, including support for Taiwan's ability to defend itself and ensure that the future environment of Taiwan is determined peacefully in accordance with the wishes and best interests of its people”. In the Indo-Pacific Strategic Report issued by the Biden Government, Taiwan was listed as a security partner of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, proposing to strengthen the military deterrence capabilities of the United States and its allies and partners by developing new military capabilities and implementing measures such as the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, and to “deter” the continental anti-Taiwan. On 13 May 2022, Biden signed a bill to “help” Taiwan obtain observer status in the General Assembly at the World Health Organization, which highlights the strategic ambitions of the Biden Government to maintain the division of the two sides and to “opposite China”. The Biden Government raised the level of exchange among United States officials, increased the sale of weapons to Taiwan and increased Taiwan's so-called “asymmetrical self-defence capabilities”, sending the wrong signal to the island's Taiwan independence forces and not contributing to the stability of the situation in the Taiwan Strait. Through its strategy of “integrated deterrence”, the United States has strengthened its forward military presence and new military technology inputs in the Indo-Pacific region, sending frequent warships “crossing” the Taiwan Strait and gathering “concerns” about the situation in the Taiwan Strait among its allies, such as Japan and Australia, will further exacerbate tensions in the Taiwan Strait and turn the Taiwan Strait into a frontline in the Chinese-American military struggle. The Biden government’s “Indo-Pacific Strategy” initiative on the South China Sea is also not conducive to peace and stability in the South China Sea situation. First, by providing military and maritime assistance to South-East Asian countries through the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and the Maritime Security Initiative, enhancing their maritime and maritime situational awareness capabilities, and in effect encouraging the military adventures of the ASEAN South China Sea sonar countries to create new confrontations and confrontations. Secondly, the emphasis on the so-called international maritime rules, the requirement that China comply with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and accept the award of the “South China Sea Arbitration”, the issuance of the new Maritime Boundary Policy Paper No. 150, and the encouragement of countries such as Viet Nam and Malaysia to resort to international arbitration in the South China Sea dispute, are aimed at challenging China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in parts of the South China Sea atolls through legal wars, rules wars and battles of public opinion, as well as disturbing the situation in the South China Sea. Third, through small multilateral mechanisms of regional allies and partners such as the United States of America, the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America and the Republic of Korea, increased attention to and coordination of positions on the South China Sea issues, increased capacity-building on ocean capabilities and marine situational awareness of other South China Sea sound-source parties, and “strength-racking” with China and pressure on China. The fourth is the dispatch of the United States Coast Guard into the South China Sea area in conjunction with South-East Asian countries to “protect” their marine resources, such as fisheries, and the American version of Operation Gray Zone in the South China Sea, which erodes China's maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. Fourth, China’s neighbors’ strategic environment has deteriorated. After Biden’s rule, he worked hard to engage his allies, both within and outside the country, in the Indo-Pacific region, including by strengthening traditional bilateral military alliances, upgrading the US-Japan-India-Australia trilateral mechanism, forming a US-Australia-AUKUS security partner, and putting pressure on China on the Taiwan and South China Seas issues to stir up the security situation in the region. In March 2021, the British Government released the Global Britain in the Age of Competition: A Comprehensive Assessment of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, proposing a “tilt to the Indo-Pacific” policy to engage more deeply in the Indo-Pacific region on three fronts: economic, security and values. In September of the same year, the European Commission launched the EU Indo-Pacific Cooperation Strategy, which proposes increased engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, building partnerships with countries such as the United States, India, Japan and ASEAN, strengthening a rules-based international order, addressing global challenges and promoting democracy, the rule of law, human rights, etc. In March 2022, the United States held its first Indo-Pacific consultation with the United Kingdom, underscoring their commitment to coordinating the United States “Indian Strategy” and the United Kingdom's “Indo-Territories” policy. Together with the previous French-German Indo-Pacific policy document, Europe’s overall policy or strategic focus and involvement in the Indo-Pacific region has increased. Europe’s “direction” to the Indo-Pacific region, together with increased coordination and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, such as Japan and Australia, has led to an escalation in the strategic games of the major powers in the Indo-Pacific region. V. CONCLUSION The Biden government’s “Indian strategy” reflects America’s hegemonistic vision of order and the zero-strategic view of big-power competition. By bringing together allies, the Biden government has formed small groups of all kinds to increase diplomatic, economic, and military investment in the Indo-Pacific region, essentially to contain and neutralize China’s influence and preserve American regional hegemony. However, the Russian-Ukraine conflict and the concerns of US allies over the increasing strategic competition between China and the United States suggest that the judgement and strategy of the United States, which regards China as a major strategic challenge, are neither in keeping with its own global and long-term strategic interests, nor are it easy to secure the sincere support of most allies and will exacerbate regional tensions and Chinese-American competition and confrontation. In a video interview with President Biden of the United States in November 2021, President Xi Jinping noted that one of the most important events in international relations over the past 50 years had been the restoration and development of Central-American relations for the benefit of both countries and the world. The most important thing in international relations in the next 50 years is that the US and China must find the right way to live together. As two major powers with different histories, cultures, systems, and stages of development, the differences and even contradictions between China and the United States are perfectly normal, and “there are and will be differences between the past and the present.” The key is to manage the differences. If China and China develop with coloured glasses, view China-US relations with hegemonic and zero-strategic views, and build anti-China circles with allies, the Biden government will find it difficult to get out of the anti-China policy trap left by its predecessors, it will also cast a new shadow on China-US relations and regional order. * The present document is the results of a phased study entitled “New trends in cooperation between the US and the Indo-Australian countries under the Strategic Framework” (Project Approval No. 20AGJ009) of the National Fund for Social Science, 2020. Biden Government China-United States Relations Security in Asia and the Pacific Indian Strategy This post is edited as follows: Poster: Ideas of Love (http://www.aisixiang.com), column: Academies of Heaven > International Relations > Review of International Relations Link to this paper: http://www.aisixiang.com/data/134887.html Source: International Studies, 2022, 5 issues Enter an e-mail address in the box, separated by a semi-accompanied comma (,) between multiple emails.

Note: This is a translated version of the Chinese news media article. A mature and nuanced reading is suggested.

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