"US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific" has governed the US' strategic response to China since Trump approved it in February 2018, Bloomberg reported, citing a statement by US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien.
US President Donald Trump's administration on Tuesday declassified a report that casts the defense of Taiwan as critical to the Indo-Pacific strategy of checking China's ascent, Bloomberg reported yesterday.
The document, which vows to prevent China from "establishing new, illiberal spheres of influence", provides reassurance to Australia that the U.S. was committed to defending allies, following a torrid 2020 in terms of Sino-Australian relations.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) yesterday said that the strategic framework for the Indo-Pacific contradicts the "solemn promises of the US" regarding its policy toward Taiwan. "China will exploit vacuums and opportunities created by these diminished bonds". It assumes that Beijing "aims to dissolve USA alliances and partnerships in the region" and exploit any resulting opportunities, and that it will "take increasingly assertive steps to compel unification with Taiwan".
A US Navy mission in the South China Sea past year.
The report described China as the main state actor followed by North Korea and aims to combat China's growing influence globally by enhancing strategic ties with its allies and partners, supporting a "liberal economic order" in the region and working to "inoculate" the United States and its partners against Chinese intelligence activities.
"A strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, would act as a counterbalance to China", it further added.
"India's preferred partner on security issues is the United States".
"The US side is obsessed with ganging up, forming small cliques and resorting to despicable means such as wedge-driving, which fully exposed its true face as a trouble-maker undermining regional peace, stability, solidarity and cooperation", Zhao said.
The end of his term, meanwhile, saw the China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement come into force, which includes Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand - countries that the US had hoped to align with to offer a robust economic response to China. An essential USA action required blunt North Korean threat was that Japan and South Korea should be drawn "closer to one another".
The paper had descriptions for ten desired "end states", including the maintenance of USA military pre-eminence in the region.
It outlines the U.S. decision to "offer support to #India - through diplomatic, military and intelligence channels to help address continental challenges such as border dispute with China and access to water, including the Brahmaputra and other rivers facing diversion by China".
"India remains preeminent in South Asia and takes the leading role in maintaining Indian Ocean security, increases engagement with Southeast Asia, and expands its economic, defence and diplomatic cooperation with other United States allies and partners in the region", the document said.
The framework looks at expanding its support for India's membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and work with the country toward domestic economic reform and an increased leadership role in the East Asia Summit (EAS).
It also called for Washington to work with India and Japan to finance regional connectivity projects.
The document also provides a sense of coherence to Trump's plans amid the US's own downward spiral in terms of its relationship with China, fuelled by Trump's unpredictable ramblings about China, particularly during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic in which he repeatedly labelled Covid-19 the "China virus".