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America must bolster its deterrence network against China with technology, long-range missiles and state-of-the-art defense systems. Admiral Philip S. Davidson, commander of the U.S. Navy in the Indo-Pacific region, urged Congress to invest $27 billion in additional spending between 2022 and 2027, with $4.6 billion for FY 2022 alone.
Consistent with the White House Interim Strategic Security Guidance, Admiral Philip S. Davidson rescues the importance of improving the performance of the more than 170,000 Marines deployed in the Indo-Pacific, “Without a valid and compelling conventional deterrent, China is encouraged to take action in the region and globally to supplant U.S. interests.”
Davidson encouraged the Taiwan government to “invest in its own national defense” by urging the U.S. Department of Defense to continue arms sales to Taiwan.
At the same time, Germany, France and the United Kingdom are sending warships to the Indo-Pacific amid growing denunciation of China for its political repression in the region.
America defends stability in Asia
Conventional deterrence allows the United States to maintain control of the status quo in the region, where the Chinese Communist Party has increased its political and military coercion.
Davidson notes that the United States seeks to form “the deployment of an integrated joint force with precision strike networks, integrated air missile defense, and a distributed force posture that provides the capability to preserve stability and, if necessary, dispense and sustain combat operations for extended periods,” in various areas of the South China Sea in the Indo-Pacific region.
The first island chain consists of a group that includes Taiwan, Japan with Okinawa and the Philippines, which China considers the first line of defense. Here, Beijing has sought to have the U.S. step aside as it considers it a key route in the region’s trade to the West.
China also seeks to remove U.S. forces from the “second island chain” in the Western Pacific, which runs from southeastern Japan to Guam and, in the south, to Indonesia.
European countries seek training in the Indo-Pacific
The United States is so far the country with the most military experience in the region since World War II. France also considers it vitally important to increase its presence and experience in the region as it has military bases in New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
“The frigate Prairial is deployed in Asia-Pacific, where it participates in the system to fight North Korea’s circumvention of United Nations Security Council sanctions,” the French government said.
The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth of the British Navy “will be deployed to the region after the spring, accompanied by a strike group including submarines and destroyers, in a show of force aimed at China.” It should be added that the British aircraft carrier “is scheduled to participate in exercises with F-35B stealth fighters belonging to the United States and Japan.”
Japan key to U.S. investment and European exercises
Japan is the leading power in the region as the only Asian member of the G7. Taiwan, despite having the military strength of Canada -also a G7 member- is not a recognized country and any direct link with Taipei would increase tensions with Beijing.
American land, sea and air forces that make up the Seventh Fleet are stationed in Japan under a bilateral security treaty of the two countries, which obliges America to defend Japan in case it is attacked.
The European engagement is an opportunity to promote the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific. Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi welcomed Europe’s growing interest.
For Washington, there is no legal basis for China’s claim to territories in the South China Sea. The Seventh Fleet regularly conducts “freedom of navigation” operations in which American ships cross, for example, the Taiwan Strait, considering it international waters.
This allows European and Asian allies to conduct military exercises while America is able to plan the construction of a sophisticated missile network capable of containing any military aggression by the Chinese Communist Party.
Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán