Indo-pacific

People and traffic pass near a marketplace in Taipei, Taiwan, 4 August 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Why Taiwan's New Southbound Policy has failed to achieve its goals

Taiwanese academic Hung-Jeng Tsai analyses decades of Taiwan’s Southbound Policy, now embodied in the latest iteration of the New Southbound Policy under President Tsai Ing-wen. He finds that despite the fanfare, few benefits have been won for Taiwan.
Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese walk together to their one-on-one meeting at Fraser's Restaurant on 22 October 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Stefan Gosatti/Pool via Reuters)

Japan-Australia relations moves up a notch with China in mind

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima assesses the joint statement and joint declaration issued by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese recently, observing a strengthening of relations amid common interests.
US President Joe Biden (facing camera, third from right) meets with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin (fourth from right), and Defence Department leaders to discuss national security priorities, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on 26 October 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

Biden’s National Security Strategy: An Asia-first strategy codified by Europeanists

Washington’s new National Security Strategy has been carefully crafted, but the document hosts a number of inherent tensions. Foremost among them is the fact that putting democracy at the center of a strategy that is increasingly Asia-focused is ill-advised.
A handout photograph released by the UK Parliament shows Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaking during his first Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons in London on 26 October 2022. (Jessica Taylor/AFP)

The UK's 'tilt' towards the Indo-Pacific may not be sustainable

The UK has launched a robust “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific. To its credit, it has executed a series of high-profile diplomatic engagements and military deployments to the region. The question, however, is not about London’s desire to engage with the dynamic region but whether this tilt can be sustained.
US President Joe Biden meets with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York City, US, on 22 September 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

Can the Philippines stay neutral in a Taiwan Strait military confrontation between the US and China?

Philippine academic Renato Cruz De Castro asserts that the Philippines will have to fall back on the strength of the Philippines-US alliance in the face of a possible US-China armed stand-off in the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwanese soldiers operate a CM-11 tank simulating firing during a military drill at an undisclosed location in Taiwan, 8 August 2022 in this handout picture released on 10 August 2022. (Taiwan Military News Agency/Handout via Reuters)

Taiwan Strait war will destroy peace and trade in the Asia-Pacific region

Tensions in the Taiwan Strait have intensified after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s military exercises encircling Taiwan. Taiwanese commentator Chen Kuohsiang assesses that a war in the Taiwan Strait would have implications for the Asia-Pacific region that go beyond geopolitics.
Samoa Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa (left) and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare (right) listen to the opening remarks of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Suva on 12 July 2022. (William West/AFP)

ASEAN needs to watch the US-China strategic competition in the Pacific

Beijing’s recent moves to establish security cooperation with Pacific island states have riled the US and Australia. Among the places that China has made moves is the Solomon Islands, where Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US security advisor Kurt Campbell have each visited within the past three months. ASEAN needs to closely watch the ongoing great power competition there to draw lessons for its own security.
Student activists hold torches and shout slogans during a protest over hike in fuel prices in Kathmandu, Nepal, on 20 June 2022. (Prakash Mathema/AFP)

The US-China contest in Nepal

While the last thing it wants is to be caught up in the crosshairs of US-China competition, Nepal is in the spotlight with the recent passing in the Nepali parliament of the US$500 million MCC-Nepal compact with the US. The US and Nepal have both denied that this grant is tied to the US’s Indo-Pacific strategy, but China is riled up as India watches closely.
This screen grab made from a video released by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV shows the launch ceremony of the Fujian, a People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft carrier, at a shipyard in Shanghai, China, on 17 June 2022. (CCTV/AFP)

China’s third aircraft carrier: No need to panic just yet

China’s third aircraft carrier is not yet nuclear-powered and won’t be battle-ready for some years yet. Besides, in terms of possible warfare, it’s the numerous surface combatants China possesses that the US should be worried about, says Loro Horta. But with every iteration of China’s aircraft carrier, its ambitions of eventually taking on the US in the open Pacific is increasingly clear.