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China shrugs off Trump's Indo-Pacific idea

China shrugs off Trump's Indo-Pacific idea

In a strident address, he said his country will "no longer tolerate" unfair trade, closed markets and intellectual property theft.

In Danang, Vietnam, where President Trump delivered his main policy address on the "free and open Indo-Pacific" at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO summit, the administration threw down a region-wide economic gauntlet in a city where once a USA military base prosecuted the U.S.'s most divisive war.

The ministers said they would "recommit to fight protectionism, including all unfair trade practices, recognizing the role of legitimate trade defense instruments".

Trump broke early with the "Pivot to Asia" of the Obama administration, worrying some traditional allies that he would allow China to extend its increasing dominance.

"If their representatives are able to get away with it, they are just doing their jobs", the president said.

The Indo-Pacific idea recognizes that a rising China has become more assertive as well as authoritarian, and it elevates Washington's ties with New Delhi as an alternative model to all that Beijing represents.

The increasing use of the phrase "Indo-Pacific" by Trump and his team during their marathon Asian jaunt this week, instead of the "Asia-Pacific" term that has always been common in business and diplomacy, is being greeted with thinly-veiled sneers in Beijing.

If there was a sop to the region, it was President Trump's promise to request the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to focus on high-quality infrastructure investment that promotes economic growth. However, the United States can not achieve that goal without strong Asian partnerships-including with India. But Trump's Indo-Pacific policy should not be underestimated by China, because India, Japan and Australia are united by being on the wrong side of China's development strategy for the region, according to Jia Wenshan, an expert on China's foreign policy at the Beijing-based Center for China and Globalization.

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The TPP was seen as a hallmark of USA engagement with Asia under the prior administration and a buffer against China's rising clout.

Donald Trump says the United States is ready to make a bilateral deal with any country in the India-Pacific region, but only on the basis of "mutual respect and mutual benefit".

President Trump did not link his call for a "free and open Indo-Pacific" with a call for cooperation among alliances and democratic friends. We are not containing China?

The White House did not entirely rule out a discussion, however. Now, is that going to worry China if India and USA get closer?

The rise of India as an economic power following its free market reforms and then its gradual military build-up was itself a key factor in the increasing significance of the Indian Ocean, he said.

It was a strikingly hostile message to an audience that included leaders who had tied their fortunes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a sweeping 12-nation accord that was to be led by the United States, from which Mr. Trump withdrew immediately upon taking office.

The Trump administration is also going to offer a much closer Defence relationship to India in line with the President's Indo - Pacific Worldview.

To meaningfully support a "free and open Indo-Pacific", the Trump administration will have to be creative in building broad Asian partnerships, especially with its India policy.


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