The Biden administration released its Indo-Pacific strategy on Friday that calls for the US to increase its presence in Southeast Asia as part of the effort to counter China in the region.
The strategy emphasizes boosting alliances and partnerships in the region. It says the US will open new embassies and consulates in Southeast Asia and in the Pacific islands, increase the US Coast Guard’s presence in the region, and refocus military assistance to the Indo-Pacific.
The strategy says that through the new AUKUS military pact, the US will “will identify the optimal pathway to deliver nuclear-powered submarines to the Royal Australian Navy at the earliest achievable date.”
The US plans to strengthen cooperation with the Quad, the informal alliance that consists of the US, India, Japan, and Australia. In recent years, the US has strengthened military ties with India, and the strategy calls for the US to support India’s “continued rise.”
The strategy was released as Secretary of State Antony Blinken is touring the region. On Friday, Blinken met with other Quad officials in Australia, and he is due to meet with officials in Fiji Saturday.
During his trip, Blinken is reassuring regional allies that the Asia “pivot” is still on even though the US is bolstering forces in Europe amid heightened tensions with Ukraine. While much of the recent focus has been on Russia, the US has significantly increased its military presence in the South China Sea and other near China since President Biden came into office.