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Asahi contends free and open Indo-Pacific strategy incompatible with “America First” doctrine

  • July 10, 2019
  • , Asahi
  • JMH Summary

Asahi carried a prominent inside-page story on the DOD’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy unveiled in early June by then-Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan, explaining that the Pentagon plans to commit substantial manpower, hardware, and other resources to counter a rapidly surging China by strengthening defense cooperation with regional allies and friends, including Japan and India. However, the daily took up views by U.S. experts, who are doubtful about whether the DOD’s security initiative commands full support from President Trump, who under his signature “America First” motto is a skeptic of multinational coordination. These experts reportedly opined that ASEAN members have low expectations for FOIP following President Trump’s withdrawal from the TPP, asserting that the FOIP strategy could have enjoyed a better standing vis-à-vis China’s Belt and Road initiative among regional powers if the Trump administration had promoted the region-wide free trade initiative. The article opined that Washington’s (in their words) aggressive trade offensive against its traditional allies, such as Japan and EU members, makes it difficult for Asian partners to fully embrace FOIP. It added that the Abe administration has toned down its corresponding FOIP strategy to a “vision” in view of  recent improvements in Sino-Japanese relations.  

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