As Washington’s pivot to Asia begins to take shape, showing up in person and walking the talk will be deal-breakers.
With the exception of India, the common thread linking the United States’ Indo-Pacific and broader China strategy so far has been the rallying of long-standing US allies.
Early summits with President Moon Jae-in and former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga are starting to bear results. South Korea is slowly starting to step up its regional engagement. Japan is getting increasingly serious about defending Taiwan.
China’s prognostication that the Quad arrangement between Australia, India, Japan and the United States would “dissipate like ocean foam” was wishful thinking. Even if the military aspect of the Quad is limited for now, it will considerably complicate the Chinese People’s Liberation Army defence planning. The Quad’s revitalised pledge to donate 1 billion Covid-19 vaccines to Southeast Asia is a welcome example of the United States stepping up to provide public goods. From further afield, this year’s G7 and NATO Summits were unprecedented in their focus on the Indo-Pacific.