China posing threat to US in Indo Pacific: Australia

China posing threat to US in Indo Pacific: Australia

Australia has called on the United States to further increase its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, warning of China’s growing influence.

“The United States has been the dominant power in our region throughout Australia’s post-Second World War history. Today, China is challenging America’s position,” read a major Foreign Policy White Paper, the first to have been issued by the Australian government in 13 years, on Thursday.

The 136-page document, which outlined Canberra’s approach to the Indo-Pacific region amid “changing power balances,” further said that it was difficult to navigate the decade ahead since the region was changing in ways unprecedented in Australia’s modern history as China gained more power.

“Australia believes that international challenges can only be tackled effectively when the world’s wealthiest, most innovative and most powerful country is engaged in solving them,” the Australian government said, referring to the US.

It further claimed that the US’s strong and sustained engagement in the world would play a crucial role in bringing about international “stability and prosperity,” adding that without such engagement, “the effectiveness and liberal character of the international order would erode.”

Before he was elected US president, Donald Trump campaigned on a strident anti-China rhetoric, promising at one point that he would declare Beijing a global currency manipulator on his first day in office. That designation never happened; and since assuming the presidency, Trump has been increasingly looking up to President Xi Jinping of China. Australia seems to be perceiving that U-turn as potentially a less aggressive US stance vis-à-vis Beijing and a prelude to disengagement from the region.