The Indo-Pacific is a strategic system encompassing the Indian and Pacific oceans, reflecting the expanding interests and reach of China and India as well as the enduring role of the US. The Lowy Institute's International Security program presents a weekly selection of links illuminating the changing security picture in this increasingly connected super-region.
- The Japanese Government has announced its intention to introduce legislation in parliament that would end the country's long-standing ban on collective self-defence, allowing the military to come to the aid of Japan's allies.
- Taylor Wettach argues that the possible abandonment of Japan's pacifist security stance is part of a larger set of economic and security reforms under Prime Minister Abe that will in the end increase stability for Japan and the wider region.
- Meanwhile, tensions in the Indo-Pacific continue. As Luke Hunt points out, the perpetual negotiations between China and ASEAN on a South China Sea Code of Conduct failed to make any progress in a two-day meeting in Brunei last week.
- China has also released a new territorial map that encompasses the South China Sea.
- Harry Kazianis argues that the new map fits well with the movement of Chinese oil rigs into disputed waters, while Ely Ratner says that it is one more sign of China's intention to change the regional status quo.
- Slightly overlooked was the fact that the new map also laid claim to the Indian administered territory of Arunachal Pradesh.
- This may give India's new government another reason to push ahead with its plans for extensive defence reforms.
- The New York Times' Edward Wong recently conducted a Q&A with Edmund J Malesky, associate professor of political economy at Duke University, on the recent (purportedly) anti-China protests in Vietnam:
They were disorganised, chaotic, did not express a clear foreign policy viewpoint and began aggressively rather than morphing from peaceful expressions. Most important, in Binh Duong, the damage was far worse for non-Chinese operations, limiting any potential signal it might have sent to Chinese authorities. As a result, a number of analysts have point out that the violence in the southern industrial zones may have been more about labour dissatisfaction and economic inequality than the Paracels.
The Lowy Institute International Security Program's work on Indo-Pacific security is supported by two grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.