The China-USA match in the Indo-Pacific
President USA Joe Biden with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (left) and Indian President Narendra Modi
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has not distracted China and the US from the fight for hegemony in the Indo-Pacific area.
Between May 19 and 24 , 2022, US President Joe Biden visited South Korea and Japan, while between May 26 and June 4, 2022, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu. , Papua New Guinea, East Timor and the Solomon Islands.
From Tokyo, President Biden launched the Economic Framework for the Indo-Pacific (Ipef), a framework agreement for economic and political cooperation signed by 13 countries and which aspires to be an alternative proposal in the Indo-Pacific region to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, New Silk Road). The Ipef provides for collaboration in the field of the digital economy, production chains, infrastructures used in the production of clean energy and in the adoption of anti-corruption measures. In 2021, the US has already invested $ 150 million in Southeast Asia, while China has invested $ 14 billion. The following countries have joined the Ipef: Australia, Brunei, South Korea, the Philippines, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, as well as the United States.
During Biden's trip, the second summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) was also held in Tokyo on May 24, 2022, in which the USA, Japan, India and Australia participate. The initiatives announced at the summit mainly concern the technology sector (space, cyberspace, semiconductors, etc.), and a joint declaration was finally released which provides for the launch of a portal for aggregating satellite data and for maritime monitoring.
Also from Tokyo, the statement in which President Biden explicitly said that the US would intervene in defense of Taiwan if it were attacked by China, caused a stir. Shortly after, the statement was corrected by specifying that the US adheres to the "single China policy" and to the Taiwan relations Act. However, in contrast to this turnaround and confirming the strategic ambiguity of the US on the Taiwan issue, in the days following the aforementioned declarations, the American aircraft carriers Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan carried out exercises between Taiwan and Okinawa.
The trip of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the Indo-Pacific region has not convinced Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Micronesia, Vanuatu, Niue, Samoa, Kiribati and Tonga to join a new security pact with China. However, the economic ties within the New Silk Road, to which these states in need of infrastructural investments have joined, remain firm.