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Reimagining Asia: From Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific

Part of the Asan-Palgrave Macmillan Series book series (APMS)

Abstract

The label Indo-Pacific is replacing Asia-Pacific as a framework for regional order. In the contest to define Asia conceptually, the broader label has strategic consequences in managing China’s rise while also incorporating the United States into an inclusive region. Various leaders have introduced new terminology such as “Act East” and “confluence of two seas.” They point to a maritime super-region with its geographical center in Southeast Asia. It serves as the intersection of the interests of at least four major powers as well as of significant middle powers. The scale of the Indo-Pacific dilutes the ability of any one country unilaterally to shape the regional order. The economic and strategic interconnectedness of this two-ocean region translates into both mutual benefit and mutual vulnerability.

Keywords

  • Middle Power
  • Regional Order
  • Maritime Silk Road
  • Indian Ocean Region
  • Indonesian Perspective

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This essay draws on some of the author’s previous work including Rory Medcalf, “The Indo-Pacific: What’s in a Name?” The American Interest 10, no. 2 (November-December 2013), 58–66; Rory Medcalf, “Mapping the Indo-Pacific? China, India and the United States,” in Mohan Malik, ed., Maritime Security in the Indo-Pacific: Perspectives from China, India and the United States (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014); and in particular, Rory Medcalf, “Redefining the region: The Indo-Pacific idea,” in Asia-Pacific Regional Security Assessment 2015 (London: International Institute of Strategic Studies), https://www.iiss.org/en/publications/strategic%20dossiers/issues/asia-pacific-regional-security-assessment-2015-4c79/rsa15-03-chapter-1-dff2.

  2. 2.

    Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon Tony Abbott MP, “Address to Parliament, House of Representatives, Parliament House,” Canberra, November 18, 2014, http://www.pm.gov.au/media/2014-11-18/address-parliament-house-representatives-parliament-house; “Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Addresses Australian Parliament,” AustralianPolitics.com, July 8, 2014, http://australianpolitics.com/2014/07/08/shinzo-abe-addresses-australian-parliament.html; Marty M. Natalegawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, “An Indonesian Perspective on the Indo-Pacific” (Keynote address, Conference on Indonesia, Washington DC, May 16, 2013) http://csis.org/files/attachments/130516_MartyNatalegawa_Speech.pdf; Hillary Clinton, “America’s Pacific Century,” Foreign Policy, October 11, 2011, http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/10/11/americas-pacific-century/.

  3. 3.

    ASEAN–China Centre, “Speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Indonesian Parliament,” Jakarta, October 2, 2013, http://www.asean-china-center.org/english/2013-10/03/c_133062675.htm.

  4. 4.

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, “Confluence of the Two Seas” (Speech, Parliament of the Republic of India, August 2007) http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/pmv0708/speech-2.html; Rendl Witular, “Presenting maritime doctrine,” The Jakarta Post, November 14, 2014,http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/11/14/presenting-maritime-doctrine.html.

  5. 5.

    See for instance H.E. Yun Byung-se, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea, “The Middle East in Transition and Korea’s Foreign Policy toward the Middle East,” (Keynote speech, 11th Korea-Middle East Cooperation Forum, Amman, December 21, 2014); Ian Bowers, “The Republic of Korea and its Navy: Perceptions of Security and the Utility of Seapower,” Journal of Strategic Studies 37, no. 3 (2014), http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01402390.2014.900754#.VQsEAPl_uPY.

  6. 6.

    Rory Medcalf, “The Indo-Pacific: What’s in a Name?” 58–66.

  7. 7.

    This parallels the idea of a regional security “supercomplex.” See Barry Buzan, “Security Architecture in Asia: The Interplay of Regional and Global Levels,” The Pacific Review 16, no. 2 (2003), 143–173, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0951274032000069660#.VQr-Cfl_uPY.

  8. 8.

    Australian Government, Department of Defence, “Defence White Paper 2013,” 74, http://www.defence.gov.au/whitepaper/2013/docs/WP_2013_web.pdf.

  9. 9.

    The Pentagon’s 2014 report to Congress on Chinese military power noted that 84 percent of China’s oil imports transited the Indian Ocean. See US Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense, “Annual Report to Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, 2014,” 18, http://www.defense.gov/pubs/2014_DoD_China_Report.pdf; data presented by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative refers to 80 percent of Japanese oil imports as being from the Middle East, see http://amti.csis.org; Yun Byung-se, “The Middle East in Transition and Korea’s Foreign Policy toward the Middle East,” http://www.mofa.go.kr/ENG/press/speeches/minister/incumbent/index.jsp?menu=m_10_40_10.

  10. 10.

    C. Raja Mohan, Samudra Manthan: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Indo-Pacific (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2012).

  11. 11.

    “Maritime security issues in the region cannot be separated: Japan’s Vice Minister,” Observer Research Foundation website, June 12, 2015, http://www.orfonline.org/cms/sites/orfonline/modules/report/ReportDetail.html?cmaid=83936&mmacmaid=83937.

  12. 12.

    Donald Kirk, “South Korea delivers setback to Somali pirates and a warning to North Korea,” The Christian Science Monitor, January 21, 2011, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2011/0121/South-Korea-delivers-setback-to-Somali-pirates-and-a-warning-to-North-Korea; Ian Bowers, “The Republic of Korea and its Navy: Perceptions of Security and the Utility of Seapower,” Journal of Strategic Studies 21, no. 3 (2014), http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01402390.2014.900754#.VQsEAPl_uPY; “S. Korea sends special troops to UAE,” The Korea Times, March 3, 2015, http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2015/03/116_174478.html.

  13. 13.

    Australian Government, Department of Defence, “Defence White Paper 2013.”

  14. 14.

    Adelle Neary, “Southeast Asia from Scott Circle: Jokowi Spells Out Vision for Indonesia’s ‘Global Maritime Nexus,’” November 26, 2014, Center for Strategic and International Studies Newsletter, Vol. 5, No. 24, http://csis.org/publication/southeast-asia-scott-circle-jokowi-spells-out-vision-indonesias-global-maritime-nexus; “Narendra Modi’s Speech to the Australian Parliament in Full,” The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2014, http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/11/18/narendra-modis-speech-to-the-australian-parliament-in-full.

  15. 15.

    C. Raja Mohan and Rory Medcalf, “The US-China Rivalry has Asia on Edge: Can ‘Middle Powers’ Create Stability?” National Interest, August 15, 2014, http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-us-china-rivalry-has-asia-edge-can-middle-powers-create-11085.

  16. 16.

    Prashanth Parameswaran, “India, Australia, Japan hold first ever trilateral dialogue,” The Diplomat, June 9, 2015, http://thediplomat.com/2015/06/india,”australia-japan-hold-first-ever-trilateral-dialogue/.

  17. 17.

    Nick Bisley and Andrew Phillips, “Rebalance to Where? US Strategic Geography in Asia,” Survival: 97.

  18. 18.

    Dennis Rumley, Timothy Doyle and Sanjay Chaturvedi, “‘Securing’ the Indian Ocean? Competing regional security constructions,” 11–12.

  19. 19.

    Karl Haushofer, Geopolitics of the Pacific Ocean (1924; ed. and updated by Lewis A. Tambs, trans. by Ernst J. Brehm, New York, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2002).

  20. 20.

    Rory Medcalf, “Mapping the Indo-Pacific,” 53.

  21. 21.

    “Proceedings of the seminar on Commonwealth responsibilities for security in the Indo-Pacific region, 1966,” March 1966, Australian Institute of International Affairs and Australian National University, Canberra, http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/21251878?q&versionId=25374465.

  22. 22.

    Marty Natalegawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, “An Indonesian Perspective on the Indo-Pacific.”

  23. 23.

    Tony Abbott, “Address to Parliament, House of Representatives, Parliament House,” November 18, 2014.

  24. 24.

    Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, “Prime Minister’s address to Japan-India Association, Japan-India Parliamentary Friendship League and International Friendship Exchange Council,” May 28, 2013.

  25. 25.

    “Narendra Modi’s Speech to the Australian Parliament in Full,” The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2014.

  26. 26.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, “‘Japan is Back,’ policy speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC,” February 22, 2013, http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/pm/abe/us_20130222en.html.

  27. 27.

    Marty Natalegawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, “An Indonesian Perspective on the Indo-Pacific.”

  28. 28.

    Adelle Neary, “Southeast Asia from Scott Circle: Jokowi Spells Out Vision for Indonesia’s ‘Global Maritime Nexus.’”

  29. 29.

    U.S Department of State, “America’s Engagement in the Asia-Pacific,” remarks by Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, Honolulu, Hawaii, October 28, 2010, http://m.state.gov/md150141.htm.

  30. 30.

    US House Armed Services Committee, “Statement of Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, U.S. Navy Commander, U.S. Pacific Command before the House Armed Services Committee on U.S. Pacific Command Posture,” March 5, 2013, http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS00/20130305/100393/HHRG-113-AS00-Wstate-LocklearUSNA-20130305.pdf.

  31. 31.

    The White House, Office of the Vice President, “Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden on Asia-Pacific Policy” (George Washington University, Washington DC, July 19, 2013), http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/07/19/remarks-vice-president-joe-biden-asia-pacific-policy.

  32. 32.

    The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, “Shared effort: progress for all,” US–India Joint Statement, January 25, 2015, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/25/us-india-joint-statement-shared-effort-progress-all.

  33. 33.

    Dennis Rumley, Timothy Doyle and Sanjay Chaturvedi, “‘Securing’ the Indian Ocean? Competing regional security constructions,” https://www.adelaide.edu.au/indo-pacific-governance/policy/Timothy_Doyle.pdf.

  34. 34.

    David Scott, “India and the allure of the ‘Indo-Pacific,’” International Studies 49, no.s 3 & 4 (2012): 2, http://www.d-scott.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/India-Indo-Pacific-galley.pdf.

  35. 35.

    Rohan Ventaramakrishnan, “Obama visit helped Modi move the hyphen from Indo-Pak to Indo-Pacific,” Scroll.in, January 28, 2015, http://scroll.in/article/702685/obama-visit-helped-modi-move-the-hyphen-from-indo-pak-to-indo-pacific.

  36. 36.

    See for example, Lü Yaodong, “Japan’s ‘Indo-Pacific’ concept another platform for containing China,” Global Times, October 13, 2014, http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/886012.shtml; another Chinese scholar has claimed India is the “key” for a US “Indo-Pacific strategy” aimed at containing China and “balancing Beijing’s Silk Road push into the Indian Ocean.” See “Obama’s India visit aimed at containing China: Report,” Times of India, January 25, 2015, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Obamas-India-visit-aimed-at-containing-China-Report/articleshow/46010664.cms.

  37. 37.

    For a range of Chinese views see: Qi Jianguo, “An Unprecedented Great Changing Situation: Understanding and Thoughts on the Global Strategic Situation and Our Country’s National Security Environment,” in James A. Bellacqua and Daniel M. Hartnett, “Article by LTG Qi Jianguo on International Security Affairs,” CNA China Studies, April 2013, http://www.cna.org/sites/default/files/research/DQR-2013-U-004445-Final.pdf; Kui Jing, “Welcoming the US into the Indo-Asia-Pacific,” Sohu, March 19, 2013, http://star.news.sohu.com/20130319/n369358343.shtml; Minghao Zhao, “The emerging strategic triangle in Indo-Pacific Asia,” The Diplomat, June 4, 2013, http://thediplomat.com/china-power/the-emerging-strategic-triangle-in-indo-pacific-asia.

  38. 38.

    Andrew S. Erickson and Gabriel B. Collins, “China’s oil security pipe dream: The reality, and strategic consequences, of seaborne imports,” Naval War College Review 63, no. 2 (Spring 2010): 90–91, https://www.usnwc.edu/getattachment/95f307db-6ad1-4399-9234-30e851a8235a/China-s-Oil-Security-Pipe-Dream–The-Reality,-and-.aspx.

  39. 39.

    See for example http://china-defense.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/photos-of-day-eighth-903a-replenishment.html.

  40. 40.

    Ministry of Defense, PRC: China’s Military Strategy, May 2015, http://eng.mod.gov.cn/Database/WhitePapers/index.htm.

  41. 41.

    Liu Zongyi, “New Delhi-Beijing cooperation key to building an ‘Indo-Pacific era,’” Global Times, November 30, 2014, http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/894334.shtml.

  42. 42.

    Mu Chunshan, “What is CICA (and Why Does China Care About It)?” The Diplomat, May 17, 2014, http://thediplomat.com/2014/05/what-is-cica-and-why-does-china-care-about-it.

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Medcalf, R. (2018). Reimagining Asia: From Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific. In: Rozman, G., Liow, J. (eds) International Relations and Asia’s Southern Tier. Asan-Palgrave Macmillan Series. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-3171-7_2

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