China’s assertiveness in the region against countries like India, Japan and Taiwan has resulted in never seen before contracts in the Indo-Pacific region

China’s assertiveness in the Southeast Asian Region is doing more harm than good for the communist nation as the victims of its hostility are now grouping together to isolate it in the region. An opinion piece published in Japanese news portal Nikkei Asian Review, suggests that China’s aggressive behaviour is giving a boost to United States’ President Donald Trump’s Indo-Pacific strategy, a move that might hurt China the most.

Former Advisor at the Pentagon and senior defence analyst at the Rand Corporation, Derek Grossman writes that China’s assertiveness in the region against countries like India, Japan and Taiwan has resulted in never seen before contracts in the Indo-Pacific region taking ahead Trump’s goal of a region ‘free from Chinese coercion.’

It has led to frequent and productive bilateral and multilateral meetings among the nations, he says. One such example is Quadrilateral Security Dialogue which comprises Australia, India, Japan and the US. While Australia on July 1 released a strategic update and force plan to counter China, India has also geared up against its expansionism policy following the ongoing standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Similarly, Japan on July 14 released its white paper highlighting China’s growing interest in Senkaku Islands.

According to Grossman's article, it is actually helping the United States in establishing itself in the region. Taiwan, a nation who has been facing China’s fierceness without bowing down, has found an inclination towards the US. Apart from that, the ASEAN countries have also objected to the Chinese assertiveness.

Vietnam on September 9 welcomed the US’s contributions to maintain peace and stability in the region. At the ASEAN meet, Vietnamese foreign minister said, “We welcome the U.S.’s constructive and responsive contributions to ASEAN’s efforts to maintain the peace, stability, and developments in the South China Sea.” Vietnam is currently bolstering security ties with a range of other countries, including Australia, Japan, and India, Grossman writes further.

Similarly, Malaysia also told the United Nations (UN) on July 29 that it rejects China’s earlier submissions to the UN regarding South China sea sovereignty. Grossman writes that the anti-China sentiment is not just restricted to the Asian region but European countries like France and the United Kingdom have also felt the same. France and the UK and France in 2018 engaged in freedom of navigation operations and presence at sea operations in the South China Sea to challenge Chinese claims, Grossman writes further.

However, there are some countries which continue to choose China over the US giving a pause to the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy. Grossman writes, “Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's July 29 warning to the U.S. to stop ‘treating China as an adversary,’ should also give the U.S. some pause.’

But at the same time, the inclination of Southeast Asian countries towards the US has raised concerns for China with its ministers busy touring Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines. China is concerned that it might be left with North Korea, Pakistan, Cambodia and Russia as its only friends in the region.

Read the full report in Nikkei Asian Review