The US Indo-Pacific Strategy’s Weakest Link

U.S. President Joe Biden (left) attends the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) launch in Tokyo, Japan, on May 23, 2022.Credit: Official White House photo

The US Indo-Pacific Strategy’s Weakest Link – The Diplomat

U.S. involvement in the region needs a larger economic component – an area where U.S. policy used to be strong.

By Guy C. Charlton and Xiang GaoFebruary 10, 2023   

In May 2022, with the launch of the “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity,” the Biden administration sought to rebuild the U.S. footprint across the Asia-Pacific region. The Framework, both rhetorically and materially, seeks to counter the growing Chinese economic and military presence across the region by re-emphasizing liberal democratic values, a rule-based international order, the challenges of climate change, and economic development.

Nevertheless, the renewed U.S. geostrategic interest in the region has placed smaller states and long-standing U.S. allies in the uncomfortable position of having to rebalance their relationships with China and the United States in a way that entangles them in the Sino-American strategic competition and does not address their particular concerns. As Fiji’s then-Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama noted on the eve of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s 2022 visit to the Pacific Island state, “Geopolitical point-scoring means less than little to anyone whose community is slipping beneath the rising seas.”

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