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HomeGeopolitical CompassEast AsiaThe recalibration of Chinese assertiveness: China’s responses to the Indo-Pacific challenge

The recalibration of Chinese assertiveness: China’s responses to the Indo-Pacific challenge

Author: Feng Liu

Affiliation: NM

Organization/Publisher: Oxford University Press 

Date/Place: January 8, 2020/ U.K.

Type of Literature: Research Article

Number of Pages: 19


Keywords: U.S.-China, Indo-Pacific, AsiaPacific, U.S.–China bipolarity.


The article addresses the politics of ascendancy over the Indo-Pacific region by China and America. To contain the rising power of China, the enormity of the United States’ establishment in the region remains excessive. The region is under bipolar comprehensive competition in both security and economic domains. Trump’s administration continued Obama’s policies that allow small and middle powers of the region to choose and fluctuate between China and America for potential economic aid or security assistance. The increasing competition between China and America is forcing regional states to choose their side, which might fuel the regional tension and alter the growth from interconnectedness to hard securitization. The Indo-Pacific region presumes to fall into regional scuffles due to this hard grouping. Singapore’s Prime minister cited the upshots, that “the circumstances may come when ASEAN may have to choose between being friends with America and being friends with China. Competition surrounding the Indo-Pacific order has just begun.” Free and open regional cooperation is the prime concern of all members of the regional institutions. Conversely, the regional countries are still in an exclusive security arrangement with the US to contain China. The author hence suggests that American engrossment in the region is inevitable, therefore China must articulate a regional institutional framework to accommodate a US presence in the region. As China’s economic clout is at the expense of small and medium powers in the region that makes America significant in region to maintain balance of power. Nevertheless, in this tug of war, regional states’ security is at high risk; since long, China’s uncompromising diplomacy and concerns over the rise of China have only deepened the tensions of this security environment. To decry the relevance of America in the region, China has to develop wholesome diplomatic ties not only with regional states but also with Japan and India. The regional rigidity and mounting American influence appear treacherous for the rise of China. 

By: Maryam Khan, CIGA Research Associate



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