18 July 2018
The revival of the ‘Indo-Pacific’ as a geostrategic region for the United States was perhaps less surprising than the revival of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, better known as the ‘Quad’, with Australia, India, Japan, and the US negotiating to restart the forum on the sidelines of the 2017 ASEAN Summit. The first Quad collapsed when China expressed opposition, and despite protestations that it was not a Chinese containment strategy, Australia dropped out.
The success of a revived Quad will depend on two issues: Firstly, that it is not a purely strategic or security policy, as this could only be interpreted by China as confrontational. This will require a greater economic component, because China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has a long head-start and colossal resources at its disposal. Secondly, it must secure buy-in from ASEAN states, who need reassurance that the public goods on offer from the Quad are in their interests. It is only with these two in place that it can assure China that it is not a new containment strategy, and the ASEAN states in the middle of the Indo-Pacific are at the heart of the project.
…Joel Ng is an Associate Research Fellow of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He has a DPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford, and researches norms and regionalism.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 23/07/2018