MemberSeptember 18, 2021 at 9:42 am
In recent years, China has demonstrated increasing power and influence in the region.
“We hear words about co-operation and then we see the threats against Taiwan and events in Hong Kong and the rapid militarisation of the South China Sea. So really when it comes to strategic issues, deterrents seem to be the only thing that makes sense against China,” Mr Shoebridge said.
The US has been investing heavily in other partnerships in the region too with Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines, as well as India and Vietnam.
This deal could benefit all of them, according to Mr Shoebridge, in the face of concerns about China’s growing power.
“The region will appreciate that. This is part of a geopolitical shift which is driven by one big thing. And that is the direction that Xi Jinping is taking. This announcement fits with the growing participation of the world’s biggest democracies to deter China from using its power” Mr Shoebridge added.
The response has reportedly been positive, even if it has been a quiet recognition.
Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia programme at policy think tank the German Marshall Fund said: “My understanding from people in the administration – having talked to allies and partners who have an interest in peace and security in the Indo-Pacific – is that there was nothing negative. There is support in the region for deterrence and for having US presence and military presence in the region.”