The Spratlys sit in the middle of trade routes through which more than half of the worlds supertanker commerce travels and atop vast oil reserves. One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade, wrote Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the November issue of Foreign Policy, will be to lock in a substantially increased investmentdiplomatic, economic, strategic and otherwise, in the Asia-Pacific region.
China represents one of the most challenging and consequential bilateral relationships the United States has ever had to manage, she added.
Washington has been taking steps to counter Chinas growing power by cementing relationships with governments surrounding its borders, from India and Pakistan to the west, throughout Southeast Asia and the South Pacific to the south, and Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan to the east.
Washington has actively supported Indias look East efforts, including through a new trilateral dialogue with India and Japan, Clinton wrote.
On October 17 the Indian government announced it was expanding its military armaments along the China front, installing its first offensive tactical missile deployment near the border. These batteries will allow New Delhi to launch missiles inside the Tibet Autonomous Region. They will be backed by two divisions of troops. Indian authorities said that move was being fast-tracked.
New Delhi has been expanding military alliances with other regimes in the area, the October 18 Wall Street Journal reports, to counter Chinas rising assertiveness in the region, especially the resource-rich South China Sea. These moves come as the Indian government is increasing oil and gas exploration in those waters.
In September Washington completed a $5.9 billion arms deal with Taiwan to upgrade its air force, munitions and missiles arsenal, which the Chinese Defense Ministry called a serious obstacle to developing normal exchanges.
At the same time, the military aid falls short of all that Taiwan had requested.
South Korea is building a new 586,000-square-yard naval base on Jeju Island, which provides easy access to the South China Sea. U.S. naval vessels will use the base as well.
The base has elicited protests in South Korea, which have delayed its construction. Among their objections, demonstrators charge that the base is part of Washingtons anti-China strategy. In 1950 Jeju Island was the scene of a slaughter by U.S. troops and forces of the South Korean puppet regime of more than 30,000 workers and peasants suspected of siding with the anti-imperialist struggle.
On October 11 the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to threaten Beijing with a series of tariffs against Chinese imports unless the Chinese government took measures to increase the relative value of its currency, a move that would lessen the competitive price advantage of Chinese exports in the world market. The bill was tabled in the House.
The New York Times that day reported politicians in Washington cannot find alignment on how best to address that problem, while maintaining Americas relationship with its biggest lender and a major trading partner.
Decades later, Senate apologizes for anti-Chinese act
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