Strategy of the Trump Administration on Asia-Pacific

2964
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-6-25-37

A. Torkunov (rectorat@inno.mgimo.ru),
MGIMO University, 76, Prosp. Vernadskogo, Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article provides a comprehensive review of the U.S. policy in Asia during the Trump administration, which is conceptualized on the basis of the “Indo-Pacific” concept. The author notes that this concept originated from Japan and India, then was adopted by the Obama administration as the political framework for the U.S. pivot to Asia, and now has been reintroduced in Asia to serve Trump’s “America First” guideline. Under the Trump administration, Washington sharply intensified its efforts to design the “Indo-Pacific region”: the four countries (the US, India, Japan, and Australia) openly support and advocate this concept, and to make it practical they have established multilateral political consultation mechanisms and developed military venues of quadrilateral cooperation. By this stage, as the author argues, the “Indo-Pacific” policy of the U.S. and its Asian allies shifted to be a blunt effort of block-building rather than an endeavor of establishing an inclusive regional cooperation mechanism. Moreover, the article interprets this block approach as growingly anti-China-centric. The U. S. is attempting to assemble a coalition to contain China in general, and particularly its implementation of its “One Belt, One Road” initiative. The author overviews the U.S. policy towards North Korea, economic cooperation in Asia, and relations with major Asian actors to build the ground for the main finding of the article: the “Indo-Pacific” block-building fundamentally contradicts the well-established Asian political tradition of a more inclusive and softer approach as is manifested in the core mechanisms of international relations in Asia, i. e. Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), East Asia Summit (EAS), and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Hence, while many Asian states have concerns about the progressing Chinese might and ambitions, most of them — except the three countries (India, Japan, and Australia) — remain committed to these long-standing mechanisms, refraining from shifting to the “Indo-Pacific” block approach.

Keywords: Indo-Pacific region, US foreign policy, “Quartet” consultation mechanism, People’s Republic of China


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For citation:
Torkunov A. Strategy of the Trump Administration on Asia-Pacific. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, No 6, pp. 25-37. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-6-25-37



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