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Use in the Indo-Pacific. The role of the islands

The United States is organizing a summit with the island nations of the Indo-Pacific to reaffirm its commitment to those nations of geostrategic importance in the region that China is courting. Washington now sees these countries’ priorities regarding climate change

Nilo statement An official issued by the White House does not talk about China, but rather talks about “history, values ​​and personal ties” and then explained that the summit to be hosted by Washington on September 28-29 between the United States and the Pacific region. Island nations’ will reflect the expansion and deepening of our cooperation on key issues such as […] Promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.

This last step outlines the perimeter of the topic. “The Indo-Pacific region is free and openIt is the concept (created by the late Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo) with which the United States deals with Chinese activities in the region. charge militarization In order to create a hegemonic dimension, it is at the basis of that demand for freedom and openness and goes through building a system of alliances aimed at containing Beijing.

Small states, such as island states, have their own importance in this planned geostrategic system. Washington has long sought the support of the Indo-Pacific countries as well. But it is facing difficulties, and the summit to be held in three weeks in the US capital shows that the Biden administration intends to intensify efforts to counter China’s growing diplomatic influence in the region.

As part of the strategic confrontation with Beijing, the Biden administration is aware of the need to renew relations with those countries – something similar is happening with Africa, and in fact another summit has been announced with all the actors on the continent. Held at the White House in December. The Chinese presence in the Indo-Pacific is deep (the region is the basin of Beijing’s natural projection), the region is of fundamental importance to global destinies, and Washington does not want to risk losing its hegemony.

The symbolic events that fuel these American fears are not non-existent. For example: Three days ago, a file Solomon Islands They announced that they would prevent all foreign military ships from docking at their ports. A week ago, Honiara left unanswered requests for the docking of a US Coast Guard ship and a British Royal Navy ship: a few months ago the Solomon Islands signed a defense agreement with China.

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At the top, Biden will have to demonstrate the credibility of the tempting alternative offered by the Chinese model, and push for it Concept “democracy“Beyond the flash trend that has been launched in recent days. The agreement with the Solomon Islands (which Honiara signed despite widespread opposition from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the USA) and the ten-day foreign minister’s trip, Wang Yiamong the countries of the Indo-Pacific, they are working to form a consensus about Beijing (particularly about the global security initiative that the party/state envisioned as the basis for governing the global order which is an alternative to Western leadership).

At the same time, this Chinese activity draws the attention of Washington, which does not have much of a task of building influence – which already exists and is still largely preferred over China. The United States intends to demonstrate that it is not losing touch, that it remains the reference model and, above all, that it will remain so in the future. This is the big challenge – and it’s not just about the island nations of the Indo-Pacific.

For decades, the United States has diplomatically disengaged from Oceania, for example, and this has provided opportunities for China to increase its influence in the region. At the same time – also through Chinese information – the perception that the United States has abandoned the region has been stimulated. Now that we have reached a point where the opposite is being pushed hard, Washington must catch up with its moves and against the shifting perceptions it has produced.

This action is clear, the summit at the end of September is the point of momentum and synthesis. in April, Daniel KretenbrinkAssistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, H Kurt CampbellCoordinator of the Indo-Pacific National Security Council, he led the initiative with a tour of the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. In June, the United States, in partnership with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the United Kingdom, launched “Blue Ocean Partners” to “forge closer relations with Pacific governments,” as the joint declaration explained. In July, cum Kamala Harris She hosted a meeting of the Pacific Forum where she announced that the United States would open embassies in Kiribati and Tonga and restore the Peace Corps in the region. In August, Deputy Foreign Minister Wendy Sherman He has called a meeting of Pacific Island nations representatives in Wellington, New Zealand.

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Sherman pledged to help the United States “address illegal, unregulated and undeclared fishing and support inclusive economic development,” among the issues those countries are concerned with along with the huge existential issue of climate change. Some island nations in the Indo-Pacific consider a part of their territory to be at risk of existence under the relevant measures Global WarmingAnd this is a gateway to American business – which is working with the Biden administration to catch up with the dangerous denial of its predecessor.

“The United States should worry about each of these countries and the direction they will take,” he said. Howard Stover, Associate Professor of Homeland Security at the University of New Haven. “The Chinese will give them money, so we should be able to offer them other things, such as strategic military protection in the event of an attack and assure them that we are fulfilling our obligations under the Paris Agreement. [sul clima]Because many of these countries will be under water [a causa dell’innalzamento del livello del mare]”.

In 2015 CPC Secretary M, Head of State Xi Jinping, announced the establishment of a South-South Climate Cooperation Fund in China, allocating $3.1 billion to help developing countries mitigate the effects of climate change. In April, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, Xie Feng, the Pacific Island Climate Action Cooperation Center based in Liaocheng City, Shandong. According to Beijing’s narrative, the center will build the capacity of Pacific island nations to deal with climate change.

For the United States, the reconstruction of the scenario of dominant influence in that region is also important from a military strategic point of view. Many of these island nations play along the routes connecting Australia to the rest of the Indo-Pacific region. And the value of Canberra in US strategy for the region is not an alternative. To say, it is not possible to believe that Australia could see a ban on access to the Pacific because the Solomon Islands close off the Coral Sea from the north. It’s an exaggeration, of course, but in strategic planning this kind of dynamics are not lacking from Risiko.

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However, maintaining one’s priorities in indirect environments must be married with respect for others, and for Washington the moment is crucial. The United States must prove its credibility in the face of the Chinese offer (another example: Capitol Hill is struggling to agree to a 60 million plan to combat the marine climate in Oceania, which is laughable in the face of the 3.1 billion promised by Beijing). At the same time, the United States can show any weaknesses, contradictions, and pitfalls of the model China proposes — and many countries accept these discussions about the “risks of working with coercive regimes,” Sherman warned.

If it is true that political and military issues are at the top of the list of US priorities, the United States is now called upon to listen to the needs of those island nations that see protection from US disasters. Climate change The main form of protection for their development. Events such as the summit to be held at the end of the month also serve to show listening.

Earl Warner

"Devoted bacon guru. Award-winning explorer. Internet junkie. Web lover."

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