The Asia-Pacific region is a geopolitical location for economic and military rivalries between the world’s superpowers. There are about 60 participating countries in the Asia-Pacific region; these countries are part of one of the three major parts of the Asia-Pacific Ocean, some of the two parts and some of the three parts of the Asia-Pacific Ocean, which they are called the key members of the Asia-Pacific region. There are three types of participants in the Asia-Pacific region; one is APEC or Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
The other is APCS Asia-Pacific City Summit, and third is the ESCAP Economic and Social Commission for the Asia-Pacific. The APEC comprises 21 economic partners, all of whom pose a major threat to security in the Pacific, The three main countries, which providing risk are the global economic rivalry between China and the United States and the international military rivalry between the United States and Russia. After World War II, the eyes of the world’s superpowers turned to the Pacific, and at that time, there were two major powers in the Pacific, the former Soviet Union led by Russia, and the United States.
Then, by the collapse of the Soviet Union, a new power emerged in the Pacific named China. However, with the downfall of the Soviet Union, Russia and the United States reduced their naval forces in the Pacific, but the United States has kept its focus on the Pacific since then. Conversely, as China began to increase and strengthen its naval forces, the United States once again began to intervene militarily, using the security situation in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea to prevent Chinese naval influence in the Pacific. Concerns from the US-led Western alliance have been heightened by the fact that China has begun patrolling the Pacific Ocean in large numbers, and the first joint Sino-Russian security patrol in the Western Pacific in October 2021 raised serious concerns of the US-led Western alliance. The increase in security patrols by the Chinese navy in the straits of Miyako, Bashi and Unagoni and the increase in the number of warships carrying fighter jets to the Pacific via the Miyako Strait has alarmed the Western world.
In the Asia-Pacific region, China is currently more vulnerable to the United States than Russia; since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China has ordered its security agencies to be on high alert and has repeatedly sent naval vessels to the Straits near Taiwan. China is the world’s largest naval power since 2020, according to the US Department of Defense, at that time, the total number of Chinese naval vessels reached 355, and at that time, the United States had only 293 naval vessels.
Today, however, the Chinese navy has more than 500 ships and about 330,000 strong active naval personnel. In addition, with the weakening of the US political and military presence in South Asia and the Middle East since August 15, Sino-Russian relations have entered a new phase of development. China is currently supporting Russia in the formation of the former Soviet Union and in preventing Russian allies from joining NATO. In return, Russia is fully committed to the implementation of the China 1 Road 1 Belt or BRI project and the delivery of Chinese naval bases to the port of Gwadar.
Moreover, the United States, with the help of the G-7, NATO and the European Union, is taking concrete steps to prevent China and Russia from pursuing common goals in the Pacific and Gwadar.
What are the challenges to security in the Asia-Pacific region and from what areas?
The Asia-Pacific region is the best place to secure fresh water, reduce malnutrition and reduce poverty in Asian countries, and the security of the Asia-Pacific is not only beneficial for Asia but also to a number of African countries.
Nevertheless, security is the most important issue in the Asia-Pacific region, which is currently a major challenge for Asia-Pacific participants. China’s emergence as a regional power poses a serious challenge to the Asia-Pacific order, especially for the United States. Because the United States opposes security in the Asia-Pacific region and does not want to end regional poverty, the war zones in the Asia-Pacific region have been identified.
The Asia-Pacific region is currently in a power struggle, with key members being China, Russia and the United States, and the centers and causes of the conflict are North and South Korea, Japan’s security policy against China, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan, among others.
There are many pro-Western countries in the world, which make a lot of money a year from arms sales, and there has to be a known market for the sale of weapons that have a market for them. Decades of civil war in Asia and Africa have fueled the US-Israeli arms market, and those weapons are used by state, non-state and quasi-state actors in the civil war in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Mali, Iraq, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Congo DRC, and benefit the Israeli and US governments. In addition, if security and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region improve, jobs are created in the region, hunger is eradicated, then war will end, and if the war stops, the light and heavy weapons companies will be shut down. Hence, the Asia-Pacific region is currently at the center of serious security challenges.
Accelerate the process of mass destruction in the region or WMD and Iran’s uranium enrichment process, Rising security threats and violence on the Korean Peninsula, the ongoing dispute between India and Pakistan over the Pakistan administered Kashmir issue in the region. The rise of international Islamist pro-Western militias in the region against the implementation of China’s CPEC and BRI projects, India-China competition in the global trade market. The recent political changes in Afghanistan and the rise of security threats in the region with the return of the Taliban to power for second time. The violence caused by religious extremist groups in Uzbekistan, Ethnic and religious strife in Myanmar, conflict in the Middle East, and rising poverty in Africa, the development of ISIS as an armed Islamic sympathizer throughout Asia is a major security challenge in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, to meet all of these challenges, Russia and China want to eliminate US military bases and naval forces throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and the Asia-Pacific region must respect the NPT’s commitments to nuclear disarmament by all participants.
Nevertheless, there are ongoing efforts by both sides, the US-led Western community and NATO, and the Russian-led Eastern Alliance, with Chinese economic support, to gain power in the Asia-Pacific region. In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China has vowed to block Taiwan’s formal declaration of independence, In addition, China has claimed sovereignty over the Ivy and Senkaku islands with Japan, and Russia is cooperating fully with China in this regard.
What are the US efforts to expand its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region and prevent China’s influence?
In order to expand the US military and political presence in the Asia-Pacific region, the United States seeks to find allies in the region that support and host US military bases in addition to the US political presence.
As the United States and Japan signed a joint peace and security agreement in San Francisco in 1951 after World War II, In essence, the agreement is the cornerstone of US military intervention in the Asia-Pacific. Then, on January 19, 1960, in Washington DC, another bilateral security agreement was signed between the United States and Japan, the main purpose of the agreement was to formally allow US military bases on Japanese soil, and the two countries pledged to defend each other. Using these agreements, the United States gradually deployed its naval forces in the Asia-Pacific region, and the influence of US naval forces in the Pacific has become a headache for both China and Russia.
There are 56,000 active-duty US troops and other military personnel in Japan today, according to the Pentagon. Moreover, about 36,000 U.S. military personnel are stationed in South Korea, and about 35,221 active U.S. military personnel are stationed in Germany. In addition to the increase in the number of these troops since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, new and advanced light and heavy weapons have been sent to them by NATO. In addition, the United States has about 120 military bases in Asian nations. Nevertheless, according to intelligence, the United States has more than 35 secret military installations in the following countries: Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Qatar, Djibouti, Kuwait and Nigeria. All of these covert installations work as a joint unit with the US Special Operations Forces, or (SOF). Moreover, the functions of these secret facilities are to train non-state Islamist militias in the Asia-Pacific region, such as ISIS, Al Qaeda, Ansarullah, ETIM and others. Other activities of these secret military installations include the illegally exploitation of oil reserves in the Middle East and the smuggling of precious stones and rare earth minerals, drug trafficking, Conducting unofficial and unregistered operations, training religious and extremist groups in the region against China and Russia. In addition, the Asia-Pacific region currently faces security challenges from two points: the North’s attraction to South Korea, and the Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
In addition, new plans are being implemented by US to contain China and Russia from the following areas, such as training Uighur, ISIS and Hiat Tahrir-Al-Sham fighters from the Al-Tanf base in Syria. The rise and deployment of pro-Western international Islamist militias groups in the northern part of Afghanistan through a new political vacuum, the threat of the Waziristan Taliban under the TTP umbrella in Pakistan and the Baloch fighters under the BLA umbrella. Training extremist groups in Pakistan administered Kashmir to control China to prevent CPEC, political turmoil in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and thru the US clandestine intervention. The United States will use these factors to destabilize the Asia-Pacific region, as Japan may not make sacrifices for the United States this time.
Because the Japanese government wants to defeat China economically and does not want to contest China for the benefit of the United States. Nevertheless, the United States will not allow Japan to withdraw from the war and will use Japan for its own purposes against Russia and China. That is why the former Prime Minister of Japan was assassinated in Japan recently, and his policy was strongly opposed to China and Russia. Using this political assassination, the United States has once again forced Japan to host and support US naval and ground forces against China and Russia. This time, the United States will not only use military force to contain China’s influence in the region, but will also expand its political presence in the region.
Therefore, on July 12 this year, the United States announced the opening of US embassies in Tonga and Kiribati, in order to prevent Chinese influence in the Asia/indo-Pacific.