China Wants To Dominate The Indo-Pacific Region, Silently

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China has a clear mission in Indo-Pacific region: complete dominance, in a silent way. US shouldn&s;t let it happen.

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That&a;rsquo;s according to&a;nbsp;&a;ldquo;The Stealth Superpower: How China Hid Its Global Ambitions,&a;rdquo;&a;nbsp;published in the January/February issue of&a;nbsp;&l;em&g;Foreign Affairs&l;/em&g;.

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&a;ldquo;Although China does not want to usurp the United States&a;rsquo; position as the leader of the global order, its actual aim is nearly as consequential,&a;rdquo; says Oriana Skylar Mastro&a;nbsp;in the article. &a;ldquo;In the Indo-Pacific region, China wants complete dominance.; it wants to force the United States out and become the region&a;rsquo;s unchallenged political, economic, and military hegemon.&a;rdquo;

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That&a;rsquo;s a major geopolitical event that casts a shadow over financial markets of the region, as it raises the potential of a regional war that will devastate the region. In fact, the prospect of a South China Sea war was included in the list of the top ten geopolitical risks compiled by the Economist.

&l;img class=&q;size-large wp-image-19672&q; src=&q;http://blogs-images.forbes.com/panosmourdoukoutas/files/2019/03/koyfin_20190316_122324483-1200×600.jpg?width=960&q; alt=&q;&q; data-height=&q;600&q; data-width=&q;1200&q;&g; Philippines, Vietnam, and China Shares

China&a;rsquo;s quest for control&a;nbsp;in this part of the globe&a;nbsp;happened&a;nbsp;in a silent way. &a;ldquo;Chinese leaders have recognized that in order to succeed, they must avoid provoking an unfavorable response, and so they have refrained from directly challenging the United States, replicating its order-building model, or matching its globally active military,&a;rdquo; she writes.

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Instead, they have been building highways, like the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a western route to the Indian Ocean;&a;nbsp;&a;nbsp;taking over strategic ports in the Sri Lanka and Pakistan; and eyeing the Philippines ports.

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Wait, there&a;rsquo;s more. There are China&a;rsquo;s alliances.

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&a;ldquo;We should also take into account here the close relationship and ties that have developed for decades between China and North Korea,&q; says&a;nbsp;Stathis Giannikos from Athens-based Pushkin Institute. &q;North Korea is a wild card in this part of the world and not only.&a;rdquo;

And when the &a;ldquo;silent&a;rdquo; strategy doesn&a;rsquo;t work, China&a;nbsp;has turned&a;nbsp;to a &a;ldquo;loud&a;rdquo; strategy. That has been the case with the Philippines where Beijing has been&a;nbsp;threatening Manila with war should it enforce a UN ruling against China&a;rsquo;s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

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Beijing&a;rsquo;s Indo-Pacific ambitions, and especially the South China Sea claims, are hardly new. What&a;rsquo;s new is Beijing&a;rsquo;s drive in asserting those claims.

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&a;ldquo;In recent years&a;hellip; China has begun to assert its claims more vigorously and is now poised to seize control of the sea,&a;rdquo; says Ely Ratner, in the July/August 2017 issue of&a;nbsp;&l;em&g;Foreign Affairs&l;/em&g;. &a;ldquo;Should it succeed, it would deal a devastating blow to the United States&a;rsquo; influence in the region, tilting the balance of power across Asia in China&a;rsquo;s favor.&a;rdquo;

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What should the US do?

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State openly that it will help countries like the Philippines defend their claims against China, according to Ratner.

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&a;ldquo;It should supplement diplomacy with deterrence by warning China that if it continues, the United States will abandon its neutrality and help countries in the region defend their claims,&a;rdquo; he says. &a;ldquo;Washington should make it clear that it can live with an uneasy stalemate in Asia&a;mdash;but not with Chinese hegemony.&a;rdquo;

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In fact, that&a;rsquo;s what the&a;nbsp;US&a;nbsp;did recently in Manila. But it doesn&a;rsquo;t seem sufficient to convince Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to make yet another flip-flop on Philippines foreign policy.

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