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U.S. Remains Strong in Indo-Pacific Despite Threats from China and North Korea

Estados Unidos Corea del Norte China

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The United States is continuing the Donald Trump Administration’s line of fortifying itself in the Indo-Pacific region. With military exercises and the buildup of naval forces at American bases, the Biden Administration is beginning to stake out a position vis-à-vis Beijing according to analysts.

China has been clear on the use of force to respond to any foreign invasion, referring to exercises by the United States, Japan and Taiwan on the coasts of the Indo-Pacific. According to media reports, the scope of enforcement “leaves room for convenient interpretation in anticipation of future maritime expansion.”

Estados Unidos China Corea del Norte
Chairman Kim said North Korea would work to develop new and advanced weapons for its nuclear and missile programs, such as tactical nuclear weapons and advanced warheads designed to penetrate missile defense systems to deter the U.S.

North Korea continues to upgrade its nuclear capabilities in the wake of failed diplomatic negotiations with the Trump Administration. Information obtained by the press from United Nations (UN) diplomats suggests that the “dictatorship of Kim Jong-un has continued to finance its war programs from cyber theft” in excess of $300 million.

Analysts suggest that North Korea may rely even more on its “hackers to generate revenue” as the country’s economy has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chinese hackers support cyber attacks and theft

In 2020 the U.S. government accused China of helping North Korea with cyber thefts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea has made more than $300 million from systematic thefts by hackers on the network, according to the UN.

The funds obtained from cyber theft are destined to the maintenance and sophistication of the military arsenal of Kim Jong-un’s dictatorship, reported CNN.

The American press reported that Kim Jong-un’s regime “announced preparations for the testing and production of new ballistic missile warheads and the development of tactical nuclear weapons and upgraded its ballistic missile infrastructure.”

The CNN report quoted several countries anonymously stating that “North Korea and Iran resumed cooperation on long-range missile development projects, including trade in critical parts needed to develop these weapons.”

The news puts Jung Pak, the new U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department, on trial.

According to media reports, Pak has been “critical of the Trump-Kim summits and advocates total denuclearization” by the Communist regime and advocates stronger sanctions on Pyongyang.

China has also been accused of carrying out attacks on the facilities of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Taiwan’s largest chip company and the world’s largest, media reported.

Jung Pak is in favor of increasing the presence of international human rights monitors in North Korea.

The aim, according to reports, is to destabilize “global semiconductor production and steal chip design information and source code.”

Taiwanese cybersecurity firm CyCraft established a link between the cyber hacking group and Chinese authorities.

CyCraft investigators described the operation as a “state attack” aimed at manipulating “Taiwan’s position and power” and targeting the country’s entire semiconductor sector, the press reported in 2020.

U.S.- China bid

The United States regained its hegemony in Asia with the Trump Administration’s forceful decisions. However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has increased its influence and military capabilities putting the stability of the region and the security of American allies at risk.

China has been manipulating U.S. allies in the region. Xi Jinping has been pressuring the South Korean president to advance its economic agenda to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike Japan or Taiwan, Moon Jae-in’s presidency has hindered U.S. progress in combating the CCP, according to the press. Influenced by the change of government, China is taking advantage of the vacuum of a clear strategy to persuade Washington’s allies,

Financial markets and political changes in Asia set the U.S. agenda, according to analysts.

On the one hand, the strengthening of the middle class in China and India, the countries with the world’s largest populations, and on the other, the technological dependence of the U.S. on countries with political conflicts such as Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, are the main interests of the U.S. strategy for a free and open Indo-Pacific, and these interests increase tensions in the region.

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

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