The US remains focused long-term on the Indo-Pacific region, despite concerns over Russian aggression toward Ukraine, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday.
Blinken is in Melbourne, Australia, for a meeting today with his counterparts from Australia, India and Japan.
The four nations form the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a bloc of Indo-Pacific democracies that was created to counter China’s regional influence.
“There are a few other things going on in the world right now, some of you may have noticed,” Blinken said in his first public address since arriving in Australia on Wednesday.
“We have a bit of a challenge with Ukraine and Russian aggression,” he said. “We’re working 24/7 on that, but we know, the [US] president [Joe Biden] knows better than anyone else, that so much of this century is going to be shaped by what happens here in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The Indo-Pacific is the fastest-growing region in the world, accounting for two-thirds of global economic growth over the past five years and home to half of the world’s population, Blinken said.
What matters in the region matters around the world, and challenges such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be tackled by any nation alone, he said.
“More than ever before, we need partnerships, we need alliances, we need coalitions of countries willing to put their efforts, their resources, their minds into tackling these problems,” Blinken said.
“What really drives us is a shared vision” of a “free and open society,” he added.
Blinken’s trip is designed to reinforce Washington’s interests in Asia and its intent to push back against increasing Chinese assertiveness in the region.
He is also to visit Fiji, and discuss concerns about North Korea with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Hawaii.
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, who is to chair today’s meeting, said that the agenda would include COVID-19 vaccine distribution, cyber and critical technologies, countering disinformation, terrorism, maritime security and climate change.
Indonesia has sent hundreds of riot police to a tiny island after protests broke out against a China-backed project that would displace thousands of residents. About 1,000 people protested in Batam City on Monday over a plan to develop Rempang island into a Chinese-funded economic zone, including the construction of a multibillion-dollar glass factory, that would displace about 7,500 people. Some protesters clashed with security forces outside a government agency, wielding machetes, Molotov cocktails and stones, police said, adding that dozens were arrested. Beijing has poured money into infrastructure and resource projects in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and its investments have previously caused
‘HARASSMENT’: A record 103 Chinese warplanes were detected in 24 hours, posing severe challenges to security in the Taiwan Strait and the region, the ministry said Taiwan yesterday told China to stop its “destructive unilateral actions” after more than 100 Chinese warplanes and nine navy ships were detected in areas around the nation. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) described the number of warplanes detected in 24 hours as a “recent high,” while Beijing has so far refrained from issuing any official comment on the sorties. “Between the morning of September 17th to 18th, the Ministry of National Defense had detected a total of 103 Chinese aircraft, which was a recent high and has posed severe challenges to the security across the Taiwan Strait and in the region,”
China would be making “a grave strategic mistake” if it tried to attack Taiwan, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley said in an interview with CNN that aired on Sunday. Asked by host Fareed Zakaria whether the US could repel a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, Milley said: “It is entirely possible.” Milley reiterated that the US still maintains the Taiwan Relations Act, and that it wants “a peaceful outcome between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, and whatever that is between those two peoples.” “Militarily, I think China would make a grave strategic mistake if they attempted to
‘CRITICAL TRADE PARTNER’: The proposal had momentum due to a bipartisan consensus on boosting the economic partnership with Taiwan, a US senator said The US Senate Committee on Finance on Thursday passed the US-Taiwan Expedited Double Tax Relief Act, with US officials saying that it would ease pressure on investors and boost the partnership between Taipei and Washington, although Taiwan needs to enact reciprocal legislation for it to take effect. The bill — which was developed by US senators Ron Wyden, the committee’s chairman, and ranking member Mike Crapo, along with US representatives Jason Smith, chairman of the US House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, and ranking member Richard Neal — was passed in a 27-0 vote. The proposal had momentum because of