The U.S.- led alliances in the Asia-Pacific, also known as the San Francisco System, serve as a foundation of America’s political-military hegemony in this region as well as one of its global primacy pillars. Yet, the future of the System is uncertain. It faces the biggest challenge since its establishment in the early 1950s, the chief reason being the changing balance of power between the United States and China. Washington expects that the logic of balancing will be pushing its Asian allies and partners, wary of a rising China, closer to the United States. Japan and Australia are currently the American allies most engaged in anti-China balancing. Beijing’s strategy appears to be aimed at neutralizing the U.S. alliances so that they cease containing China and show deference to its security interests. Thailand, South Korea and Taiwan have been the most pronounced cases of neutralization. Caught between the intensifying Sino-American competition, most Southeast Asian states have chosen the path of hedging, seeking to diversify their strategic links and maximize space for maneuver. Among the U.S. allies in Asia, Singapore has been the most skilful practitioner of hedging, while the Philippines under Rodrigo Duterte has become another prominent case of the hedging strategy. The combination of neutralization and hedging may prove the best solution to the Asia-Pacific’s security dilemma, as it allows China to satisfy its basic security concerns while sparing its East Asian neighbors the fate of becoming frontline states in the U.S. – China strategic rivalry. The ongoing tendencies towards neutralization and hedging are generally consistent with Russia’s interests. The key East Asian countries leaving Washington’s sphere of political-military influence will weaken America’s regional and global hegemony, thus contributing to the formation of polycentric world order. Moreover, the desire of a number of East Asian states to hedge their bets and diversify strategic relationships gives Russia more opportunities to raise its profile in the region.
Asia-Pacific region, the United States, China, the San Francisco System, security, balance of power, balancing, hedging
1. Mikheev V., Voitolovskii F. Dialectic of the US–China Relations. Global “Perestroika”: Transformations of the World Order. Dynkin A, Ivanova N., eds. Moscow, IMEMO, 2015, pp. 424-440.
2. Walt S. The Origins of Alliances. Ithaca, Cornel University Press, 1987. 336 p.
3. The Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation 2015. Japan Ministry of Defense Official Website. Available at: http://www.mod.go.jp/e/d_act/anpo/shishin_20150427e.html (accessed 27.09.2016).
4. Collective Self-Defense. Available at: http://spfusa.org/research/collective-self-defense/ (accessed 27.09.2016).
5. Istomin I., Vodop’yanov K. Transformatsiya amerikano-yaponskogo soyuza [Transformation of the US-Japan Alliance]. International Trends, 2016, no. 1, pp. 129-130.
6. Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Gillard of Australia in Joint Press Conference. Available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/16/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-gillard-australia-joint-press (accessed 27.09.2016).
7. Schoff J. The Evolution of US-Japan-Australia Security Cooperation. US-Japan-Australia Security Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges. Tatsumi Y., ed. Stimson Center, 2015, pp. 37-49. Available at: http://www.stimson.org/sites/default/files/file-attachments/US-Japan_Australia-WEB.pdf (accessed 27.09.2016).
8. Sneider D. Behind the Comfort Women Agreement. Available at: http://toyokeizai.net/articles/-/99891 (accessed 25.09.2016).
9. Inaugural U.S.-India-Japan Trilateral Ministerial. Available at: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/09/247483.htm (accessed 25.09.2016).
10. Gady F.-S. Confirmed: Japan Will Permanently Join US-India Naval. Available at: http://thediplomat.com/2015/10/confirmed-japan-will-permanently-join-us-india-naval-exercises/ (accessed 27.09.2016).
11. India, Japan, Australia on Same Page on China, Says Japanese Foreign Secretary. Available at: http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/India-Japan-Australia-on-Same-Page-on-China-Says-Japanese-Foreign-Secretary/2015/06/09/article2857954. ece (accessed 01.10.2016).
12. Thayer C. Vietnam’s Extensive Strategic Partnership with Japan. Available at: http://thediplomat.com/2014/10/vietnams-extensive-strategic-partnership-with-japan/ (accessed 28.09.2016).
13. Statement of David Shear, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian & Pacific Security Affairs before the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations. Available at: http://www.foreign.senate.gov/download/051215_shear_testimony&download=1 (accessed 01.10.2016).
14. Feinberg R. US Trade Arrangements in the Asia-Pacific. Bilateral Trade Agreements in the Asia-Pacific: origins, evolution, and implications. Aggarwal V. and Urata S., eds. NewYork, Routledge, 2006, pp. 95-116.
15. Рогов. С. Доктрина Обамы: Властелин двух колец. [Rogov S. Doktrina Obamy: Vlastelin dvukh kolets [The Obama Doctrine: Lord of the Two Rings]] Available at: http://russiancouncil.ru/inner/?id_4=1783#top-content (accessed 03.10.2016).
16. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter Hails Trans-Pacific Partnership as Underscoring ‘Our Lasting Commitment to Asia–Pacific’. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-07/us-defence-secretary-backs-trans-pacific-partnership/6375274 (accessed 09.10.2016).
17. Soble J. Failure of Obama’s Trans-Pacific Trade Deal Could Hurt U. S. Influence in Asia. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/17/world/asia/obama-trans-pacific-partnership-asia.html?ref=asia&_r=0 (accessed 29.09.2016).
18. Fu Ying. China and the United States: It’s Complicated! Available at: http://www.bjreview.com.cn/quotes/txt/2015-06/08/content_691408.htm (accessed 05.10.2016).
19. South China Sea no showcase for U.S.-Japanese alliance. Available at: http://en.people.cn/n/2015/0429/c90883-8885443.html (accessed 15.09.2016).
20. Xi Jinping: Remarks at the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. Shanghai. Available at: http://www.china.org.cn/world/2014-05/28/content_32511846.htm (accessed 03.10.2016).
21. Sevast’yanov S. Integratsionnye proekty Kitaya v ATR i Evrazii [China’s Integration Projects in Asia-Pacific and Eurasia]. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2016, no. 4, pp. 5-12.
22. Yan Xuetong. Inside the U.S.-China Competition for Strategic Partners. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yan-xuetong/china-us-competition-allies_b_8449178.html?utm_hp_ref=world (accessed 05.10.2016).
23. Titarenko M. L., Petrovskii V. E. Rossiya i Kitai kak opory novogo mirovogo poryadka [Russia and China as pillars of the new international order]. Kitai v mirovoi i regional’noi politike. Istoriya i sovremennost’ [China in Global and International Politics. History and Contemporaneity]. Safonova E. I., ed. Moscow, In-t Dal’nego Vostoka RAN, 2015. Vol. 20, pp. 8-28.
24. Ciorciari J. A Chinese Model for Patron-Client Relations? The Sino-Cambodian Partnership. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, 2015, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 245-278. DOI: 10.1093/irap/lcu021
25. Segal A. Chinese Economic Statecraft and the Political Economy of Asian Security. China’s Rise and the Balance of Influence in Asia. Keller W. W. and Rawski T. G., eds. Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007, pp. 146-161.
26. Kang D. China Rising: Peace, Power and Order in East Asia. New York, Columbia University Press, 2007. 296 p.
27. Kivimaki T. Finlandization and the Peaceful Development of China. The Chinese Journal of International Politics, 2015, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 139-166. DOI:10.1093/cjip/pov003
28. Gilley B. Not So Dire Straits: How the Finlandization of Taiwan Benefits U. S. Security. Available at: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2010-01-01/not-so-dire-straits (accessed 05.10.2016).
29. Prasiritsuk K. The US-Thailand Alliance: Perceptions, Realities and the Way Forward. Issues & Insights, Pacific Forum CSIS, 2013, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 67-78.
30. Akita H. Thai Plan to Buy China Subs has US on Edge. Available at: http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International- Relations/Thai-plan-to-buy-China-subs-has-US-on-edge?page=1 (accessed 30.09.2016).
31. South Korea Balance of Trade 1996-2016. Available at: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/south-korea/balance-of-trade (accessed 03.10.2016).
32. Envoy takes stand on South China Sea issue. Available at: http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3011313&cloc=joongangdaily%7Chome%7Ctop (accessed 29.09.2016).
33. Medeiros E. Strategic Hedging and the Future of Asia-Pacific Stability. The Washington Quarterly, 2005, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 145-167.
34. Roy D. Southeast Asia and China: Balancing or Bandwagoning? Contemporary Southeast Asia, 2005, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 305-322.
35. Lee Kuan Yew. One Man’s View of the World. Singapore, Straits Times Press, 2013. 348 p.
36. Perlez J. U. S. Allies See Trans-Pacific Partnership as a Check on China. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/07/world/asia/trans-pacific-partnership-china-australia.html?_r=0 (accessed 25.09.2016).
37. Speech by Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen, at an Event Organised by the Center for a New American Security. Available at: http://www.mindef.gov.sg/content/imindef/press_room/official_releases/sp/2015/10dec15_speech.html#.ViTaU59oh_c (accessed 30.09.2016).
38. US-Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. Available at: http://www.gov.ph/2014/04/29/document-enhanced-defense-cooperation-agreement (accessed 05.10.2016).
39. Hernandez J. Warily Eyeing China, Philippines May Invite U. S. Back to Subic Bay. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/20/world/warily-eyeing-china-philippines-may-invite-us-back-to-subic-bay.html (accessed 03.10.2016).
40. Chang F.K. GI Go Home, Again: The Philippines-U.S. Alliance Weakens. Available at: http://www.fpri.org/2016/09/gi-go-home-philippines-u-s-alliance-weakens/?utm_source=FPRI+E-Mails&utm_campaign=6bb084f619-FPRI+Insights+09172016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e8d0f13be2-6bb084f619-157828981 (accessed 28.09.2016).
41. Interview: Mahathir Mohamad. Available at: http://thediplomat.com/2015/10/interview-mahathir-mohamad/ (accessed 05.10.2016).
42. Le Hong Hiep. Vietnam’s Hedging Strategy against China since Normalization. Contemporary Southeast Asia, 2013, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 333-368. DOI:10.1355/cs35-3b
43. Luttwak E. The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy. Cambridge (MA), The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012. 310 p.
44. Paul Keating Speech at Launch of “The China Choice”. Available at: http://australianpolitics.com/2012/08/06/keating-on-china.html (accessed 25.09.2016).
45. White H. The China Choice: Why America Should Share Power. Melbourne, Black Inc, 2012. 208 p.
46. The Downer legacy: Northeast Asia. Available at: http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2009/09/14/Downer-seminar-Northeast-Asia.aspx (accessed 28.09.2016).
47. Sun Junjian, Li Hongli. Australia’s Response to the U.S Return to the Asia-Pacific. Contemporary International Relations, 2015, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 126-140.
48. Bogaturov A. D. Velikie derzhavy na Tikhom okeane: istoriya i teoriya mezhdunarodnykh otnoshenii v Vostochnoi Azii posle Vtoroi mirovoi voiny (1945–1995) [Great Powers in the Pacific: History and Theory of International Relations in Eastern Asia after the World War II (1945–1995)]. Moscow, Konvert – MONF, 1997. 352 p.
Registered in system SCIENCE INDEX