KATHMANDU;-The promotion of the quad, the birth of the Akus security pact and the withdrawal from Afghanistan indicate the US strategic commitment to focus on the Indo-Pacific region. The US move can only be expected to escalate tensions with main rival China, destabilize Southeast Asia and weaken ties with Europe. Washington took such a riskignoring this means that China must be prepared to take such risks in its campaign to “counter” its growing power and influence in important areas.
The Quad’s direct meeting in Washington last week was a milestone in the alliance’s history. The leaders of the four member states met directly in Washington shortly after their first virtual meeting six months ago. The rapid development demonstrates the importance of the quad in the overall US strategy in this area. The quad will play a role similar to Europe’s NATO in the Indo-Pacific.
But since the Chinese challenge is less ideological and broader than that of the Soviet Union, the quad has to rise above security. This was also reflected in the joint statement of the quad leader and the latest statement mentions more issues than the March statement.
The joint statement issued from Washington covers health, environment, infrastructure, technology, diplomacy, security, education and citizen-citizen relations. The United States understands that it is one thing to go against China at sea and another thing to compete for the public good. He can make the most of his alliances and partnerships to mobilize resources to surpass China’s vaccination diplomacy or the Belt and Road Initiative.
With so many stressful locations in the Indo-Pacific region, the task of empowering quad members or ensuring access to nearby military bases requires intense preparation for future situations. Therefore, no matter what form the quad takes, it will be at the center of Washington’s broader strategy toward the region. Like NATO, it aims to expand, and the Quad Plus dialogue indicates this.
Efforts so far by the United States and China for peaceful coexistence have been fruitless. Conferences in Alaska in March and in Tianjin in July confirm this. That is why both sides are making their own preparations. Even a second telephone conversation between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping did little to ease the situation. The announcement was made less than a week after the telephone conversation.
Meanwhile, both sides appear to be working to reduce tensions. During talks between Quad leaders in Washington, it was agreed to facilitate the return of Huawei’s chief financial officer Ming Wenzhou to China. Beijing immediately released Michael Covering and Michael Savor, both Canadians. This coincidentally brought the United States’ neighbor and ally, Canada, into the limelight and ended three years of political strife.
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