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(Opinion) Is Australia the Key to US Containment of China?

2016-04-13 09:45:47       source:The Diplomat

April 12, 2016

"While the attention of the United States continues to be focused on the Middle East and the battle against ISIS — despite President Obama’s hope to 'pivot to Asia' — China has been behaving in an increasingly aggressive way in the Eastern Pacific, claiming large swaths of ocean as its territorial waters. It has built artificial islands on reefs in the ocean that are under dispute with other Southeast Asia countries, such as the Philippines and Vietnam. China has also deployed fighter jets and anti-aircraft missiles on another disputed island in the South China Sea.

China's actions have threatened freedom of navigation through the South Pacific, potentially jeopardizing the $5 trillion of seaborne trade which traverses the region annually. In response to the Chinese actions, which have been denounced not only by the United States, but also throughout Asia, the U.S. has endeavored to organize greater military cooperation among the nations of Asia, including Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Australia. In addition, India, a long-time foe of China, has recently stepped up its cooperation with the emerging anti-China alignment and even Indonesia, which has recently clashed with China over the activities of Chinese fishing boats  in territorial waters claimed by Indonesia, may be attracted to the grouping."

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