Global “Indo-Pacific” strategies appear to target China
Here is a selected list of recent initiatives that might be designed to contain China:
- The British Government is about to announce a foreign and defence policy review with the “new big idea” of a focus on the Indo-Pacific
- The new UK aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and accompanying fleet will deploy in May on a maiden voyage to the Indian Ocean coordinated with the US
- On the flight deck will be a squadron of F35 jets from the US Marine Corps, showing UK and US cooperation
- The UK mission looks very much like a strike force, including two Type 45 destroyers, an Astute Submarine and two Type 43s
- At the same time the recent QUAD (Japan, India, Australia, USA) meeting was the first attended by all four leaders and was strong on a free and open Indo-Pacific
- India, Australia and Japan have an active working party examining supply chain security (code for not buying everything from China)
- Many foreign ministries from France to Germany have recently produced Indo-Pacific strategies
- Former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer recently said “The single most geopolitical issue in the world today is the rise of China”
- Downer went much further in his comments: “This is an issue of war and peace.”
- Meanwhile Australia is in the 10th month of a trade war with Beijing
- France and Germany are also deploying large warships to the region this year
- The UK also wants to turn the G7 into an alliance of 10 democracies by inviting South Korea, India and Australia – yet another concern for China
The Indo-Pacific packs some punch – it now accounts for close to half of global economic output and more than half the world’s population: it contains the world’s two most populous nations, China and India; the world’s second and third largest economies, China and Japan; the world’s largest democracy, India.
Add these up – and draw your own conclusions. What do you think?