China’s Curious Nonchalance Towards the Indo-Pacific

I have published a new article on Chinese assessments of the Indo-Pacific strategic construct in the June 2019 issue of Survival. Here is an abstract:

A sort of nonchalance has characterized China’s attitude toward the Indo-Pacific strategic construct. This is puzzling given the elevation of the Indo-Pacific to a whole-of-government strategy by the Donald J. Trump administration and the 2017 rebirth of the ‘Quad’. I suggest four reasons or mechanisms that together help to account for this curious attitude: Beijing has learned the lesson of its overreaction to the Barack Obama administration’s Asia rebalance strategy; it believes itself in possession of new strategic leverage to fend off new challenges; it is in command of greater financial resources for regional economic initiatives and is open to third-party collaboration in the Belt and Road Initiative; and there is adequate strategic space for China to navigate the treacherous waters of the Indo-Pacific.

Read the full article here.

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Feng Zhang is a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University’s Department of International Relations, Deputy Director (Higher Degree by Research) of the ANU’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, and a member of the executive committee of the Australian Centre on China in the World based at the ANU. His research focuses on Chinese foreign policy, Asia-Pacific security, and international relations theory. He is also Adjunct Professor at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in China.

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