PELOSI’S TRIP TO TAIWAN Raising US-China Tensions, impacting the Indo-Pacific region

About the Author/co-author

US allies Free and Open Indo-Pacific countering China 

There is no regional organization in place in East Asia because to the region’s high strain. As a result, Southeast Asia has a responsibility to uphold law and order there as well as throughout the Indo-Pacific. The first area to be impacted is Southeast Asia. The South China Sea area, which is now being disputed by ASEAN nations with China and Taiwan, may be moved by the military drills conducted by those two polar regions. It is evident that the China-Taiwan issue this time can lead to ASEAN engagement since the Russia-Ukraine crisis outside the area alone can affect food sustainability in Southeast Asia. 

Given that one of Pelosi’s objectives upon her arrival is to advance Free and Open Indo-Pacific cooperation, this is a cue for the US to extend an invitation to Taiwan in opposition to China. Free and open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) pledges to increase US diplomatic connections with the area, notably in south-east Asia and the Pacific, as well as with the US, Australia, India, and Japan’s Quad alliance. Even while they assert that “this is not China’s plan,” America’s heightened attention is partially attributable to the Indo-Pacific region’s more difficult issues, particularly those coming from China. 

The FOIP strategy is unmistakably being implemented in an effort to resist China’s expansion that is emerging in the Indo-Pacific area as well as to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative project, where US supremacy is being challenged by China’s ascent. China is therefore more skeptical of these links. 

Southeast Asia chooses to respect One China Policy The Southeast Asian countries would suffer the most if this conflict persists and has the potential to turn into a full-fledged war. Southeast Asia is projected to be crucial in easing tensions after being squeezed by the Indo-Pacific, AUKUS, and East Asian conflicts. 

ASEAN countries’ responses on this issue have been stated in the Final ASEAN Foreign Minister statement on August 3, 2022, “ASEAN calls for maximum restraint, refraining from provocative action, and upholding the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). We reiterate ASEAN Member States’ support for their respective One-China Policy”. 

Read: Taiwan rejects unification with China under “one country, two systems” principle

According to the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Indonesia encourages all parties to take meaningful efforts to minimize tensions that might aggravate the situation.” the fundamental goal of ASEAN’s reaction is to maintain regional stability and peace. Wherever peace and stability can be preserved, the world needs the knowledge and accountability of its leaders. That rivalry has the potential to spark open confrontation and threaten the stability and peace that now exist, especially in the Taiwan Strait, if it is not handled appropriately. Indonesia underscored the fact that it continues to uphold the One China Policy. 

As Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto mentioned before during his speech in Shangri-La Dialogue (22/6): “For Indonesia, our stand is very clear. We respect all the big powers and all the powers that need to have their space, their rights respected. We support a rules-based international order because we are the most affected by any order that just relies on big power. Our experience of being colonised, our experience of being exploited is always in our subconscious.” 

ASEAN can mediate and transform conflicts into constructive collaboration by making use of the ASEAN-led mechanisms in the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. An opportunity to discuss a better solution should be extended to the disputing parties. For ASEAN, overcoming such obstacle is a significant task. However, these warring nations will make the final decision. (M.Raihan Ronodipuro)