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U.S., China Jockey for Position in Pacific With Moves on Security, Trade

U.S., China Jockey for Position in Pacific With Moves on Security, Trade

*. China on Thursday quickly responded to an attempt by Australia, U.K., and the U.S. to limit its ambitions. It said it would apply for a regional economic pact that the U.S. has eschewed. This was as Washington and Beijing fought for their economic and military positions in the region that will determine their great power rivalry.

. The U.S. is building a network alliances that includes India and Japan. Officials from the White House stated that Australia will receive nuclear submarines in an attempt to enhance deterrence within the Indo-Pacific. As a consequence, Australia pulled out of a multibillion dollar submarine agreement with France. Paris accused the three countries of being betrayed.

. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Foreign Minister on Thursday called the U.S.’s move a “stab to the back .”. A gala was cancelled by the French Embassy in Washington.

. China isn’t letting the news get to them: On Thursday, it announced that it had applied for membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership , also known as CPTPP. The U.S. was close to joining the regional trade pact, then known as the TPP, before President Donald Trump withdrew from it in 2017 amid widespread skepticism of multilateral trade agreements.

. Successive U.S. governments have tried to reorient U.S. policy towards Asia, and what they saw as the growing threat–and inability to follow international rules-–of an empowered Beijing. Obama’s so-called pivot to Asia saw mixed results as the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Afghanistan outweighed new initiatives.

The Trump administration placed tariffs on Chinese products and strengthened what it called an Indo-Pacific Security Alliance that tried to include India in the alliance against China.

The Biden administration repeatedly stated that the biggest challenge facing the U.S. was not counterterrorism, but rather competition with China or Russia. This is one reason why the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

. Mr. Austin stated that the four official spoke out about China’s activities to destabilize other nations and Beijing’s attempts to intimidate and coerce others, in violation of established norms and rules. The White House had stated that the agreement was not intended to target a particular country but rather “advancing our strategic interest, upholding international rules-based order and promoting peace in the Indo-Pacific .”

. Mr. Dutton mentioned the “deterrence component” of plans for the acquisition of nuclear submarines. These submarines are more stealthy and have a longer range than traditional submarines. The Australian defense minister stated that Australia made its decision because it wanted to maintain the “regional superiority of its navy fleet.”

*. Officials from the United States have stated that submarines will not be equipped with nuclear weapons and Australia does not seek to acquire nuclear weapons.

. China considers this agreement “extremely irresponsible”, stemming “outdated Cold War Zero-Sum mentality,” said Zhao Lijian on Thursday, a spokesperson for Beijing’s Foreign Ministry.

*Beijing views the Chinese political and military actions that threaten the U.S., its Pacific allies, as a defense of its territorial integrity. The government has increased its investments in military technology, including new sub-sonic weapons. It also established territorial policies such as an air exclusion zone where foreign aircraft must identify themselves.


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Chinese armed forces flex their muscles with maneuvers at the edges of the nation’s airspace and maritime borders with Taiwan, Japan and Vietnam, while the People’s Liberation Army has constructed roads and buildings near the borders of India and Nepal.

Beijing’s effort at exerting its economic might in the foreign policy sphere has touched Australia’s shores in particular: Last year, China imposed steep tariffs on Australian barley, suspended beef imports from some Australian slaughterhouses, and slapped antidumping tariffs on Australian wine, among other trade penalties, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an investigation into the Chinese origins of the virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms. Payne stated that the Australian government had extended an invitation to Beijing for dialogue. However, it has “consistently failed to take up

” Dialog is constructive. She said that dialogue allows for the sharing of differences and the venting of concerns.

*China’s leader Xi Jinping is trying to refashion Washington’s relationship as one that involves two equal power. After unsuccessfully trying to persuade the Biden administration of reversing the Trump-era anti-China policies, Mr. Xi intensified his efforts to face Washington and win over countries that have been in America’s orbit for a long time.

A Beijing advisor says that Xi is now advocating a new major-power relationship that is based on equality.

*Mr. Xi believes that many countries won’t be willing to join a U.S. led united front against Beijing due to the appeal of vast Chinese markets. China has repeatedly punished those countries that don’t align with its objectives by imposing economic sanctions. Beijing believes that this reluctance gives China the opportunity to enter and forge alliances.

. The agreement between the U.S.A., U.K., and Australia is intended in part to reduce China’s economic power in the region.

” We have raised our concerns publicly and privately about Beijing’s economic coercion of Australia.” Mr. Blinken stated. “We’ve made it clear that actions like these targeting our allies will hinder improvements in our relationship with the Chinese government.”

The Bid to Counter China’s Influence

Beijing’s application to join the regional trade pact isn’t a surprise; Mr. Xi and other senior leaders had talked about China’s interest in joining the CPTPP in the past year. The timing of China’s application suggests that they were seeking an eye-for–eye reaction to U.S. Alliance moves.

Write to Courtney McBride at courtney.mcbride@wsj.com and Lingling Wei at lingling.wei@wsj.com

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