On March 12, US President Joe Biden held his first summit with the heads of government of three other major countries: Japan, Australia and India. It was the summit of the “quadripartite” group, whose purpose was clearly to gather strength and cooperation in the fight against China. What is the strategy of the new US government of Joe Biden in the Indo-Pacific region?
The significance of this summit is at the heart of US strategy in the Indo-Pacific region. Despite the unfavorable circumstances due to the Covid-19, Joe Biden decided to conduct the meeting remotely via video conferencing to hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
The summit is also important for the three countries, India, Japan and Australia – to gain clear confidence in the alliance with the new US government, as in the past, during Donald Trump’s tenure, much confidence was lost due to unreliable political behaviours.
However, to show the new confidence, the Japanese Prime Minister will visit Washington to meet with Biden in April.
The White House has said that the “The Quad” quadripartite summit is a testament to the high level of focus on cooperation between liberal democracies that respect the values of freedom and respect for international law. Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, said the four countries, the United States, Japan, India and Australia, have a common interest in the economic and security spheres, which is at the heart of the quadruple objectives.
Join forces to resist China
Although not named, the fact of the matter is that the United States is gathering major countries in the region to join forces against China. Biden has already stated that China is a major strategic rival of the United States. However, the Chinese side also knows what they want to do toward.
The Chinese newspaper Global Times reported that the quadripartite summit was a conspiracy against China. The newspaper also took to India, telling it to be aware of the scam of the United States. The newspaper argues that the tripartite alliance is, in fact, not an alliance of common interests as the United States claims, but a coercive US pressure on the other three countries to choose the United States over China.
However, the three countries, India, Japan, Australia, each has a problem with China and must seek cooperation to counter China, so they choose the United States. The quadripartite alliance has stated that it wants to protect the openness of the Indo-Pacific region in respect of rights and international law.
In this sense, it refers directly to China’s activities in the South China Sea, where China is building ports and military bases, as well as China’s plans in the Indian Ocean, which China plans to do in Burma and Sri Lanka.
The concerns for the United States, India, Australia and Japan is that China is blocking sea lanes in the Indo-Pacific region as well as trade routes with other countries in Southeast Asia. In addition, there are human rights issues, political ideology, rights and freedoms in Hong Kong and the threat to Taiwan.
Establish a military alliance for the Indo-Pacific?
Of course, when it comes to strategy, security is inseparable. The issue of security threats from China is a concern that the US government cannot joke about. In February, the Biden administration announced that it would set up a 15-member task force to consider a joint strategy on what the United States should do toward China.
Pierrre Antoine Donnet, an analyst on the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, recently said that the United States is surveying the situation to form a military alliance similar to NATO, but for Asia. The United States is considering how to set up a cell in the military to counter forces against China in the Indo-Pacific. This is also a concern of Japan, India, Australia.
Another important issue is the nuclear issue. China is estimated to have between 200 and 300 nuclear warheads. This number is less than the United States, but can not be neglected, because China has a lot of hidden. Charles Richard, the commander-in-chief of the US Nuclear Strategy, recently said the United States must be prepared in case it if it is needed to uses nuclear weapons against China.
The military alliance is emerging in preparation for a confrontation with China in the Asia-Pacific region. Next week, the US Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense will visit Japan and South Korea. Joe Biden has said that using force with China is a last resort.