Today, the White House is publishing the recently declassified United States Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific. For the last 3 years, this document has provided overarching strategic guidance for implementing the 2017 National Security Strategy within the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.
A statement by National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien reads, “The Framework has guided the development of numerous subordinate policy frameworks and campaign plans that have steered the U.S. approach to specific issues of importance to the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, such as the U.S. Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China, the U.S. Strategic Framework for Countering China’s Economic Aggression, the U.S. Campaign Plan for Countering China’s Malign Influence in International Organizations, and others.”
“Beijing is increasingly pressuring Indo-Pacific nations to subordinate their freedom and sovereignty to a ‘common destiny’ envisioned by the Chinese Communist Party,” said Robert O’Brien. “The declassification of the Framework today demonstrates, with transparency, America’s strategic commitments to the Indo-Pacific and to our allies and partners in the region.”
According to the Strategic Framework, China aims to dissolve U.S. Alliances and partnerships in the region and will circumvent international rules and norms to gain an advantage. Chinese economic, diplomatic, and military influence will continue to increase in the near-term and challenge the U.S. ability to achieve its national interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Strategic Framework affirms that China will take increasingly assertive steps to compel unification with Taiwan. To defend Taiwan, the U.S. will enable Taiwan to develop an effective asymmetric defense strategy and capabilities that will help ensure its security, freedom from coercion, resilience, and ability to engage China on its own terms.
To counter China’s aggression, the U.S. will work closely with its allies and like-minded countries in the region. It would strengthen the capabilities and will of Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Australia to contribute to the end states of this strategy. At the same time, the U.S. will reinvigorate alliances with the Philippines and Thailand, to strengthen their role in upholding a rules-based regional order. The U.S. will help accelerate India’s rise and capacity to serve as a net provider to security and Major Defense Partner while solidifying an enduring strategic partnership with India.
In the framework, the Trump administration has the objective of deterring China from using military force against the US and its allies or partners and develop the capabilities and concepts to defeat Chinese actions across the spectrum of conflict. The U.S is working to maintain an intelligence advantage over China, and inoculate the United States, its allies, and partners against Chinese intelligence activities.
The Framework says the U.S. has taken actions to enhance combat-credible military presence and posture in the region to uphold U.S. interests and security commitments.
“Devise and implement a defense strategy capable of, but not limited to (1) denying China sustained air and sea dominance inside the first island chain in a conflict; (2) defending the first island chain nations, including Taiwan; and (3) dominating all domains outside the first island chain,” the Framework said.
At least for three years, the Trump administration has been working to prevent China’s industrial policies and unfair trading practices from distorting global markets and harming U.S. competitiveness. It has also aimed to promote U.S. values throughout the region to maintain influence and counterbalance Chinese models of government.
By Winnie Troppie
You can read United States Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific here.