US, Europe Considering ‘Asian NATO’ To Contain China

The United States and European officials are mulling to create an ‘Asian NATO’ of regional powers to contain communist China’s expansionist ambitions, Washington Times reported.

Through previous efforts for East Asian security, alliance have failed to gain lasting traction, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said China’s emergence as a rising superpower is “fundamentally shifting the global balance of power” in ways should motivate NATO itself to “become more global.”

Quietly, according to the report, Trump administration officials have gone further. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun recently suggested that the informal defence alignment between the US, Japan, Australia and India are already known as the Quad could be the beginning of a NATO-style alliance in Asia.

“It’s something that I think in the second term of the Trump administration or, were the president not to win, the first term of the next president, it could be something that would be very much worthwhile to be explored,” Biegun said at a U.S.-India strategic dialogue on Aug. 31.

Recently, senior officials of all four powers held another virtual meeting on Friday. The Ministry of External Affairs said the four countries called for a “free, open, prosperous and inclusive” Indo-Pacific region based on shared valued and respect for international law.

“It is a reality that the Indo-Pacific region is actually lacking in strong multilateral structures. They don’t have anything of the fortitude of NATO or the European Union. The strongest institutions in Asia oftentimes are not inclusive enough,” Biegun said. “There is certainly an invitation there at some point to formalize a structure like this.”

Last month, Biegun said that the Asian NATO would be about more than simply countering China, and could focus on broadly coordinating militaries and economies of the region’s smaller nations around a rules-based value system.

Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center has said that as countries in past were worried about antagonizing China but not anymore.

“One country or another at one time or another has been worried about antagonizing China,” said Kugelman.

“But things are different now,” he added. “The Quad really has legs at this point and I think that’s because there’s a growing consensus among the Quad countries, as well as other nations in the region, that China’s activities there are not only aggressive but increasingly threatening to global stability.”

Daniel S. Markey, a former State Department official now at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, said in an interview that while India may be “eager to work to push back against China,” it seeks to do so “only on its own terms.”

“U.S. policymakers are now well-aware that the ‘ally’ language doesn’t get a good reception in New Delhi, so turning the Quad into a new NATO-like institution is, at least for the near future, a nonstarter,” said Markey, although he acknowledged that recent Chinese actions internationally could create an opening for Washington. (ANI)

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