Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, January 18th, 2021

Is Indo-Pacific Region “Powder Keg” On The Brink?


Is Indo-Pacific Region “Powder Keg” On The Brink?

Recently, Vogel, professor emeritus of Harvard University and former director of the John King Fairbank Center for East Asian Studies, warned: unfortunately, there is a possibility of military conflict between China and the United States. On July 21, the US “Global military Power” website released a ranking of global military strength. The United States, Russia and China are in the top three, followed by India. Japan and South Korea ranked fifth and sixth. The global military power ranking calculates the military strength evaluation index based on 50 factors such as a country’s population, force, weapons and defense budget, It is not difficult to find that the top five countries on the list are all around China, except United States,. Since the United States launched the Indo-Pacific strategy, it has extensive influence in the Indo-Pacific region, especially in the field of security, United States has signed security treaties or defense agreements with South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and Australia, strengthen military cooperation with Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and India, build an “The Arc of Indo-Pacific Strategy” and become the main driver of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific countries, led by Japan, India and Australia, actively promoted the docking of the Indo-Pacific strategy with United States, and set off an arms race in the Indo-Pacific region by expanding arms sales and improving the level of military security cooperation. And trade disputes, territorial disputes, problems left over by history and geopolitical games emerge one after another, constantly rubbing off the sparks of war. It seems that a powder keg has been formed in eastern Asia and the west coast of the Pacific Ocean, constantly moving towards the brink of war. In fact, the danger of conflict and war in the Indo-Pacific region is the result of many factors.
From the perspective of geopolitical environment, the geopolitical environment of Indo-Pacific region is particularly complex. The Indo-Pacific region was originally a biogeological concept, referring to a large area of the southern tropics near the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific. However, with the release of the Indo-Pacific strategy of the United States, the full swing of The Belt and Road initiative in this place and the different geopolitical demands of various Indo-Pacific countries, all of these factors makes the Indo-Pacific region increasingly become the key area of geopolitical competition. Under the background of the intertwined global power and regional power, the comprehensive national strength of the Indo-Pacific countries continues to improve, and the demand for the dominance of regional affairs and the intervention of foreign forces add a lot of uncertainty to the Indo-Pacific countries in cooperation and competition, consensus and differences, harmony and contradiction in the game. In addition, ASEAN, which is located in the heart of the Indo-Pacific region, adopts an ambiguous attitude about the status quo of great power competition in the region, on the one hand they want to shows its strategic importance to the Indo-Pacific region, and on the other hand they also tries its best to avoid becoming a stage for great power competition. It also makes the already complex Indo-Pacific geopolitical situation more dangerous..
From the perspective of historical factors, the problems left over by history have reduced the political mutual trust among the great powers of India and the Pacific. Although it makes no sense to dwell too much on the past, the key problems left over by history have not been thoroughly solved so far. It not only seriously hinders the further development of the relations between the Indo-Pacific Countries, but also warms up under the stimulation of the new situation and new factors, and the problems left over by history become particularly sensitive and complex, which are excavated and magnified. And vaguely, lazily and vaguely dealing with historical problems, dealing with historical problems shows capriciousness, reneging on promises and even treachery, turning a blind eye to the progress that has been made, resulting in serious historical retrogression. This has greatly reduced mutual political trust, resulting in a decline in willingness to cooperate, a further widening rift and an increased risk of conflict.
From the perspective of border disputes, territorial disputes have become the fuse for the escalation of confrontation. There are extensive territorial disputes in the Indo-Pacific region, such as the Diaoyu Islands of China and Japan, the border between China and India, the Dokdo Island of Korea and Japan, the four northern islands of Russia and Japan, Kashmir of India and Pakistan, and islands and reefs in the South China Sea, which is also an important contradiction of geopolitics and international relations in the region. Both sides of the dispute are tough, taking a series of domestic measures as far as possible to strengthen the bargaining chips in the territorial dispute. And hold high the great interests of the nation, and there is no room for negotiation on the territorial issue. The “cross-border provocation” has prompted the confrontation between the two sides of the dispute to spread and escalate, and the contradiction has become increasingly acute. It is an objective fact that the territorial dispute has existed for a long time, and there will be no breakthrough solution in the foreseeable future,it will become a potential danger of conflict between India and the Pacific.
From the perspective of the intervention of foreign powers, the participation of international forces has aggravated the tension in the region. As the strategic position of the Indo-Pacific region becomes more prominent, the global strategic pattern has undergone qualitative changes. Of course, here has also become the focus of international forces, and foreign powers take advantage of the opportunity to intervene in the regional affairs. On the one hand, the countries in the region actively introduce foreign forces to intervene in order to improve their strength of the game in the Indo-Pacific region. On the other hand, foreign forces take the initiative to intervene, trying to lead the trend of the regional situation, provoking various contradictions and conflicts that may lead to confrontation and confrontation, sending wrong signals to some countries, and constantly creating obstacles to negotiations. this has intensified the trend of internationalization and complication of regional issues, making the already unstable Indo-Pacific region even more unstable.
The Indo-Pacific region is moving towards the brink of war, and the possibility of regional conflicts has greatly increased. Countless historical experiences tell us that we need to make joint efforts to maintain regional security. As a matter of fact, it is the common responsibility and aspiration of all Indo-Pacific countries to promote and maintain peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Conflict and war are not in line with the national interests of the Indo-Pacific, and the Indo-Pacific countries will not put themselves in a dangerous situation. Only by building consensus, promoting dialogue, strengthening cooperation, and promoting the construction of an new Indo-Pacific regional security governance model, can we maintain regional peace and promote common development. On the contrary, the destruction of Indo-Pacific security is the strategic intention of Countries outside to compete with each other, so as to sit on the mountain and watch the tigers fight and the fishermen benefit. Of course, countries in the region will not be led by the nose by foreign forces, but will take the initiative to formulate multilateral trust measures while avoiding politicization and exclusive arrangements, and strengthen dialogue and cooperation on the principle of openness and inclusion. work together to create a bright future for peace and prosperity in the India-Pacific region.

Huang Dekai,The Scholar of Sichuan Police College,Zhou Yunsong&Chen Ziwei,The Scholars of Yunnan University

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