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How the United States Gained Momentum over China in the Indo-Pacific
Region: Indo-Pacific
Published November 2, 2023
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In 2020, Xi Jinping was on a roll. Donald Trump had left U.S. alliances in disarray and the home front in discord, unable even to unite against a pandemic. U.S. allies South Korea and Japan saw China (and Russia too) in ways at odds with U.S. strategy—Moon Jae-in depending on it for his obsession with North Korean diplomacy, and Abe Shinzo awaiting a state visit from Xi in the hope of economic cooperation at odds with Trump’s trade war. The entry of India into the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) before a June 2020 Himalayan knife fight seemed to give China the edge over Abe’s appeal for a Quad, joining it with the U.S., Japan, and Australia. By 2023, the picture had changed dramatically. This article points to seven arenas where the U.S. under Joe Biden has gained appreciably in the Indo-Pacific at China’s expense. Competition in reshaping the regional order is continuing; no verdict is yet possible on which side will gain the upper hand. The Chinese controlling strategy continues to vie against the U.S. blocking strategy.

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