US risks being loner in Indo-Pacific Strategy

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/5 21:58:42

Photo: IC

During the just-concluded 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, the US convened the second annual Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF) in Bangkok on Monday and released a report entitled "A Free and Open Indo-Pacific: Advancing a Shared Vision" to tout the US Indo-Pacific Strategy. The report fiercely attacks China, proclaiming China is a threat to peace in the region and emphasizing ties with the island of Taiwan under the framework of the Indo-Pacific Strategy.  

However, the highlight of the ASEAN Summit and Related Summits is the agreement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which has attracted the most attention from the participating countries and the international community. US efforts to promote the Indo-Pacific Strategy were treated coldly. 

India has decided not to join the RCEP for now, but it has nothing to do with the Indo-Pacific Strategy, but is based on India's own economic interests. 

During the past two years after the Indo-Pacific Strategy was initiated, the US has engaged in much propaganda for it. Yet compared to the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific strategy, launched during former US president Barack Obama's tenure, the Indo-Pacific Strategy is relatively empty with no decent focus. 

Washington wants to mobilize New Delhi and turn it into a "frontline" in the confrontation against China. But India seems to be craftier than the US. It is enjoying the diplomatic benefits provided by the US, while attaching importance on developing relations with China. Washington is driving a wedge between China and India, but Modi won't fall into the trap. 

Southeast Asian countries generally refuse to follow the Indo-Pacific Strategy or pick a side between China and the US. Striking a balance between major powers has become their basic path. 

There is only one entity in the region that has actively raised the flag for the US' Indo-Pacific Strategy and acted as the "frontline" voluntarily, and it is the Taiwan authorities. However, the majority of Southeast Asian countries are not interested in the clamor made by the Taiwan authorities and their so-called defense of democracy and freedom. The most important concern of the region is the stability of the Taiwan Straits, and there should be no major disturbance involving the surrounding regions. 

How to resolve the cross-Straits question is a matter for the mainland and the island of Taiwan. No other parties in the region have strong will to interfere in.

Only the US, which is tens of thousands of miles away, cares the most. The current US government and the Tsai Ing-wen authorities in Taiwan have worked together to undermine peace in the Taiwan Straits and endanger the stability of the region, which is not in the interest of other regional members. Taiwan has become the best card for the US to wield its strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region. However, both the US and the island of Taiwan cannot be too careful.

The US has been out of line with the mainstream of economic and social development in Asia. It doesn't accept China's rise, thinking that countries in the region will prioritize geopolitics to deal with their relations with China, which is their largest trading partner, the way Washington does. Washington is asking those countries to put US national interests above their own, and to serve the Star-Spangled Banner wholeheartedly.

This is an insult to the wisdom and dignity of Asian countries. In this way, the Indo-Pacific Strategy will be eventually recorded as a shameful story in the history of international relations.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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