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  • Joel Wuthnow and Elliot S. Ji

Bolder Gambits, Same Challenges: Chinese Strategists Assess the Biden Admin’s Indo-Pacific Strategy


Joel Wuthnow and Elliot S. Ji CLM Issue 77 September 2023
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Chinese strategists view the motivations, drivers, and challenges arising from the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy with increasing concern. Based on a review of recent articles written by senior Chinese scholars at various civilian and military institutions who have access to key Chinese Communist Party decision-making and foreign-policy organizations, we found that Chinese strategists regard U.S. strategy in Asia as an upgrade from the approach of the Trump administration, with major improvements in the scope of alliance coordination and the use of economic tools to compete with Beijing. These strategic thinkers, however, remain confident that U.S. strategy will be undermined by divergent strategic interests and economic dependencies on China. The dominant prescription remains attempts to drive wedges between the United States and its partners, though analysts differ on whether to increase competition with or enhance stability with Washington.

In February 2022, the Biden administration released its Indo-Pacific Strategy which differed in important aspects from the strategy formulated by the Trump administration. We assess how Chinese strategists view the drivers, contents, implications, and challenges of U.S. strategy in Asia, and how they think Beijing should respond. It builds on the authors’ previous work analyzing Chinese reactions to the Trump administration’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” strategy.[1] It updates the findings to address Chinese perceptions of the Biden administration’s Asia strategy since 2021. Our focus is on journal articles by leading Chinese strategic thinkers, including those in think tanks with institutional access to key Chinese Communist Party decision-making, foreign policy, military, and intelligence organizations, and senior scholars in civilian and military universities.[2] In total, we analyzed 31 articles by these authors written during the Trump administration and 16 published after President Biden took office. Our main analytic goal is to identify areas of continuity and change in Chinese discourse, while continuing to assess consensus and debate.


Chinese analysts have concluded that the Biden administration is pursuing a full-scope containment plot against China through a redefined Indo-Pacific strategy, which will further complicate the external security environment that Xi Jinping must navigate in the coming years. This assessment differs from their views of the Trump administration’s similarly titled strategy, which Chinese observers viewed through the narrower prism of the Quad and U.S. efforts to renegotiate trade deals. President Biden, in their view, is pursuing a more overtly hostile plan to contain China through diplomatic partnerships—moving beyond the Quad to upgrade other multilateral and bilateral relationships, including with Taiwan—military moves, and a broader suite of economic tools focused on restricting China’s access to advanced technology.


Nevertheless, Chinese strategists are not convinced that the Biden administration can pull it off. They implicitly credit President Biden with better staffing and a shift away from regionally unappealing “America First” rhetoric, but they also argue that an alliance-based containment strategy will fail due to a preference by most states not to sacrifice their relations with China for limited U.S. material and financial resources. The top prescription remains enhancing China’s regional influence through diplomatic and economic means. We also found evidence of a debate in Chinese circles over how much to emphasize stability and cooperation vs. how to prepare for a protracted struggle with the United States.


Views of an Expanded Indo-Pacific Strategy


Compared to the Trump administration’s strategy, Chinese observers assess that the Biden administration is orchestrating a more coherent strategic approach to blunt China’s rise. Previously, Chinese analysts were divided between those who viewed U.S. strategy through the classic lens of anti-China containment and those who believed that President Trump was pursuing a broader policy of renegotiating trade deals and extracting concessions from allies (Figure 1). Now, however, there is a consensus that pure containment is the principal driver behind U.S. strategy, which underscores the use of the label “upgrade” (升级) to characterize the new strategy.[3] Encapsulating this perspective, Fan Gaoyue, a professor at Sichuan University and former military officer, writes that “stopping China’s rise is the fundamental purpose of the Indo-Pacific strategy, and it will invariably pose a serious threat to China’s political, economic, and security interests.”[4]


Figure 1: Chinese Assessments of Motives Behind the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy


Figure 1: Chinese Assessments of Motives Behind the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy

The defining characteristic of the Biden administration’s strategy, according to Chinese experts, is a strengthening of alliance coordination against China. Zhao Pu and Li Wei from Renmin University contend that “Biden has abandoned the ‘America First’ argument and has turned to cooperation with allies and partners to compete with China. Therefore, the essential feature of the Indo-Pacific strategic upgrade is to build a small circle with the United States at the center, combining various forces to subdue China.”[5] Two other scholars accuse Washington of “using ideology to foster separate regional camps” (以意识形态划分阵营), which they assess will “increase the risks of competition” and produce an “unstable regional order.”[6] Such ideas also find currency in official rhetoric: using similar language, Xi Jinping told delegates to the 2023 National People’s Congress that “Western countries headed by the United States have contained, encircled, and suppressed China in an all-around way, bringing unprecedently severe challenges to China’s development.”[7]


During both the Trump and the Biden administrations, Chinese strategists focused on the revived Quad. Indeed, every source we examined since 2021 at least mentions the Quad—the only element of the Indo-Pacific strategy that is so consistently cited (Figure 2). Two authors, for instance, contend that “China must clearly recognize that the Biden administration’s upgraded Indo-Pacific strategy is primarily intended to balance against China, and it centers around using the Quad to encircle China.”[8] This comment reflects concerns about increasing coordination between the four countries during and after the pandemic, its discussion of maritime security, supply chains and other issues that touch on China’s interests, and its elevation to the level of the head of government in early 2021.[9]


Beyond the Quad, a majority of Chinese sources written during the Biden administration also reference the creation of AUKUS, which Fudan University professor Zhao Minghao describes as a “camp-based approach to great power competition, with China seen as the top competitor facing the United States.”[10] Zhang Weiwei from the Foreign Ministry–linked China Institute of International Studies likewise refers to AUKUS as “another important measure for the United States to weave together a new alliance network and strengthen its momentum in the Indo-Pacific.”[11] She suggests that the new Australian nuclear-powered submarines will help the United States build an “island chain encirclement of China, block key sea lanes, and maintain an important role in maritime supremacy,” while also highlighting trilateral cooperation in artificial intelligence and other advanced areas.[12]


Figure 2: Chinese Attention to the Diplomatic Dimensions of the Indo-Pacific Strategy


Figure 2: Chinese Attention to the Diplomatic Dimensions of the Indo-Pacific Strategy

Bilaterally, Chinese analysts continue to highlight stronger U.S. relations with Japan, Australia, and India, but there has also been an increase in references to two non-Quad alliances. First, references to the ROK as a key Indo-Pacific ally nearly doubled after President Biden took office. This not only reflects President Biden’s May 2022 trip to South Korea but also the emphasis of the new Yoon Suk Yeol government on strengthening South Korean military readiness and regional influence through the U.S.-ROK alliance. Chinese Academy of Social Sciences scholars Ye Hailin and Li Ming’en accuse Yoon of “lacking mature diplomatic experience and rational strategic thinking,” predicting that China-ROK relations will enter a “period of difficulty.”[13]


Second, references to the U.S.-Philippines alliance more than doubled. This trend reflects strengthened defense cooperation with the United States under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Zhang Weiwei describes the Philippines as a “fulcrum country” (支点国家) for the Indo-Pacific strategy that could be part of an expanded Quad—or what she refers to as an incipient “Indo-Pacific G7.”[14] Ye Hailin and Li Ming’en argue that U.S. “wooing” of the new Filipino administration, coupled with nationalistic public opinion and elites who desire a firmer approach to sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea, could lead the Philippines to “reconsider strengthening the strategic effectiveness of the U.S.-Philippines alliance.”[15]


We also found an increase in Chinese associations of Taiwan with the Indo-Pacific strategy, which rose from 23 percent in sources during the Trump era to 44 percent in Biden-era sources. This seems to reflect greater U.S. attention to the military dimensions of a Taiwan conflict and regional coordination regarding Taiwan’s defenses under the Biden administration. Fudan University professor Wei Zongyou feels that the Biden administration’s inclusion of Taiwan as a partner in the 2022 Indo-Pacific strategy as well as steps to encourage other U.S. allies to improve their own military preparations for a Taiwan contingency reflect the “Biden administration’s strategic goal to maintain the separation of the mainland and Taiwan and to use Taiwan to counter China.”[16] Similarly, Cao Xiangyang, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, argues that Washington is “taking advantage of its allies and partners to pressure China on the Taiwan issue.”[17]


Another shift has been greater Chinese attention to a broader set of U.S. economic tools being deployed in bilateral relations and across the region (Figure 3). Most Chinese attention during the Trump administration was focused on competition in the infrastructure arena, which analysts concluded was an attempt to weaken the BRI. Some sources do cite President Biden’s signature infrastructure initiatives, such as the Build Back Better World program. Zhao Pu and Li Wei argue that President Biden has sharpened U.S. “infrastructure diplomacy” by using climate change and democracy as “ideological weapons” to set infrastructure rules.[18]


Figure 3: Chinese Attention to the Military and Economic Dimensions of the Indo-Pacific Strategy


Figure 3: Chinese Attention to the Military and Economic Dimensions of the Indo-Pacific Strategy

Nevertheless, Chinese sources focus more on U.S. attempts to redirect supply chains away from China, set digital commerce rules, impose export controls, and generally decouple the U.S. and Chinese technology sectors. Most sources frame these activities as the economic legs of a larger containment strategy. For instance, Zhao and Li assert that Washington is “using economic diplomacy to build an economic alliance with four components—supply chain security, cutting-edge technology, infrastructure building, and digital trade—that excludes China and competes with China for regional economic leadership.”[19] Zhang Weiwei adds that the Biden administration is “weakening China while strengthening America” (中消美长) by expanding the number of Chinese companies on the Commerce Department’s Entity List and Non-SDN Chinese Military-Industrial Complex List; blocking Chinese investments in high-tech U.S. firms; pressuring Chinese companies to delist from U.S. exchanges; and working with allies to promote international standards in ways that exclude China.[20]


Unsurprisingly, we found a high degree of consistency in Chinese assessments that the Indo-Pacific strategy will negatively impact China’s security interests (Figure 4). Some authors continue to focus on the impact of U.S. military activities near China’s periphery. Wei Zongyou, for instance, argues that military exercises, U.S. Coast Guard deployments to Asia, and the transfer of retired warships to Vietnam and the Philippines have “created a security ‘punch combo’… that compresses China’s security space, intensifies insecurities, and worsens China’s security environment.”[21] He also notes that U.S. diplomacy has increased trilateral coordination among the United States, Japan, and South Korea in areas such as supply chain security and emerging technology and has strengthened Seoul’s conviction to speak up on the Taiwan issue.[22] Likewise, two scholars at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences write that the “exclusive institutions and military blocs created by the United States using a Cold War logic and containment strategy significantly damage the Indo-Pacific security order and increase a tense regional situation.”[23]


Figure 4: Chinese Assessments of Implications for the Security Environment


Figure 4: Chinese Assessments of Implications for the Security Environment

Chinese scholars are also increasingly worried about a perceived U.S. strategy of denying China access to advanced technology and other decoupling measures. Cao Xiangyang explains that U.S. attempts to “eliminate China from supply and industrial chains is securitizing normal economic and social activities and aggravating regional tensions.”[24] Ye Hailin offers a broader argument that export controls, technological decoupling, reduced civil and academic exchanges, and narrower official communications result in heightened antagonism and may create serious risks of accidents and conflict over Taiwan and in the South China Sea.[25]


Skepticism that U.S. Allies Will Join an Anti-China Coalition


In their assessments of the weaknesses of the Indo-Pacific strategy, we found a distinction between areas that can be corrected by the U.S. administration and exogenous factors that are much more difficult to control. During the Trump administration, Chinese sources frequently cited vacancies in key positions, poor interagency coordination, and regionally controversial “America First” rhetoric as limits on effective U.S. strategy. Although Chinese sources do not praise the Biden administration for more effective internal management, mention of these factors have declined significantly in post-2021 sources, indicating that these are no longer perceived as major hurdles (Figure 5).


Figure 5: Chinese Assessments of U.S. Challenges in Implementing the Indo-Pacific Strategy


Figure 5: Chinese Assessments of U.S. Challenges in Implementing the Indo-Pacific Strategy

However, Chinese sources continue to describe several external challenges that might reduce the effectiveness of the U.S. strategic approach. Despite the Biden administration’s focus on enlisting support from allies and partners, Chinese analysts remain optimistic that countervailing factors will dilute those efforts. One reason for this is the underlying reality that most countries desire stable and lucrative relations with China. Fan Jishe, a professor at the Central Party School, argues that “U.S. allies have relatively complex political, economic, and diplomatic ties with China that will remain resilient and will not experience a rapid shift due to U.S. mobilization. Furthermore, U.S. and allied interests do not always align, and China can shape the policy choices of these states.”[26] Another paper cites Vietnam, Singapore, and ASEAN as parties that have refused to “pick a side” (选边站) in the Sino-American competition.[27] (By contrast, Chinese sources see the Biden administration as somewhat less likely to be constrained by China, which we have coded as the “China Factor”).


A second Chinese explanation for limited regional support for U.S. objectives concerns the limited benefits made available to U.S. allies and partners. Implicitly contrasting with China’s more expansive economic statecraft, one article argues that the United States has implemented a “shell strategy” (空壳战略) that “only pays lip service without delivering concrete benefits,” leading to a “significant loss of willingness among U.S. allies to follow the United States.”[28] Fan Jishe similarly contends that “the focus of U.S. policy is rebuilding at home, so it lacks the political willingness and actual capacity to provide public goods for its allies. This weakens the effectiveness of the U.S. regional security strategy.”[29]


A final reason for Chinese skepticism is related to military constraints.[30] Surprisingly, few articles written before 2021 focus on U.S. military limitations, but since then this has become an increasingly popular theme in Chinese discourse (possibly due to rising confidence in China’s own capabilities). This can help explain why since 2021 we have observed an increase in discussions on resource constraints. Offering one perspective, Ye Hailin and a co-author write that many allies “have seen that the United States no longer has a dominant military advantage over China.”[31] Other authors doubt that U.S. attempts to draw other countries into a broader deterrent strategy can work because of limited interoperability. Aside from Japan, one source contends, other allies “are unable to integrate into a combat system around the First Island Chain. Daily military exchanges and cooperation, such as arms sales and combined exercises, cannot be fully transformed into wartime deterrence.”[32]


Notably, Chinese sources do not agree on whether U.S. commitments in Ukraine will be beneficial or disadvantageous to the Indo-Pacific strategy. Wei Zongyou suggests that economic, diplomatic, and military resources allocated to Ukraine will “make it impossible to concentrate on the Indo-Pacific region.”[33] However, Renmin University professor Li Chen offers a more complex assessment. On the one hand, he suggests that there could be some near-term impact on U.S. readiness in Asia as capabilities are redistributed to support the war. On the other hand, he argues that over the longer term, the Ukraine conflict will improve the U.S. ability to engage in strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific through larger defense budgets and a stronger ability to mobilize military resources. Li also speculates that Russia and Europe might “check and balance” each other in the West, leaving the United States free to increase its “strategic initiative” in the Indo-Pacific theater.[34]


Consensus and Disagreement in China’s Responses


In discussing the responses to U.S. strategy, Chinese analysts tend to avoid bold proposals and often simply reiterate themes such as the BRI and the “community of common destiny” that are in line with current policy. The most common prescription across both U.S. administrations is that Beijing should continue to upgrade its own regional influence, exploiting the reliance of U.S. allies and partners on China’s market (Figure 6). For instance, Wei Zongyou contends that China should expand its regional infrastructure loans, but it should be mindful of how partner countries perceive the BRI; Beijing should adhere to local customs and laws and avoid the appearance of corruption.[35] Zhang Jie, a scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, writes that Beijing should also use economic tools to create a better atmosphere with its territorial rivals.[36] Ye Hailin portrays China’s regional diplomacy in a more openly competitive light: “The core principle is not how much China can provide to peripheral countries but whether China or the United States can gain the upper hand in the region.”[37]


Figure 6: Chinese Recommendations Regarding How Beijing Should Respond


 Figure 6: Chinese Recommendations Regarding How Beijing Should Respond

We also observed ongoing debates about how to deal with the United States. As in the past, there is a division between those advocating a stronger competitive approach and those seeking stability and cooperation. Ye Hailin is representative of the former camp. Although most Chinese authors do not discuss military tools, Ye, writing in the hawkish tones more often seen in nationalistic media outlets, feels that China should “demonstrate the determination and resolve to use force by strengthening the construction and use of military power” and “clearly convey to the United States the bottom line that China is willing to go to war over core interests.”[38] He also urges Beijing to take “necessary steps” to prepare for a technological decoupling.[39] This requires “relying on the domestic market to build a ‘de-Americanized’ Chinese high-tech and value chain” and building a “regional cooperation network” “independent of the United States and dominated by China.”[40] Such steps include cooperation with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, and accelerating a new version of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.[41]


Others continue to emphasize the need to stabilize Sino-U.S. relations. Writing in mid-2022, Senior Colonel Liu Lin from the PLA Academy of Military Sciences argues that military competition requires redoubled efforts to improve crisis communications and escalation control. The two militaries, in her view, should resume discussions on unplanned encounters through the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement while also exchanging ideas on non-proliferation and other areas.[42] Zhao Minghao similarly calls for Beijing to revive its support for a “new-type major country relationship” with the United States based on discussions of common interests such as climate change, energy security, and public health. Zhao notes that such discussions should be part of a broader “United Front” campaign to build bridges with Washington as well as with U.S. allies, the intent of which will diminish support for a competitive strategy aimed at China.[43]


Offering a third approach, Cao Xiangyang supports stabilizing relations with the United States while simultaneously taking steps to inoculate China from the negative repercussions of technological competition. On the one hand, he argues that China should improve indigenous innovation to break the Biden administration’s “technology blockade,” while it also should attract foreign investments to “ease the pressure from the United States” and generally promote “multipolarity” abroad. On the other hand, he describes U.S.-China relations as “one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world” and argues that the two sides should “minimize the possibility of destructive conflicts, strengthen communication and coordination, and maintain normal and stable relations between the two countries.”[44] The multiplicity of views on how to handle U.S. relations in an epoch of strategic competition implies that China’s analytic community is still coming to terms with the problem.


Conclusion


The major changes in Chinese appraisals of the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy during the Biden administration are related to the scope of alliance coordination and greater use of economic tools to challenge China, deviating from the previous administration’s narrower “America First” approach. The Chinese also perceive Washington to be taking steps to better integrate Taiwan into its regional strategy. The new strategy, despite having the same name, is regarded as an “upgrade” with better internal management. Chinese analysts remain concerned that U.S. strategy will increase regional instability, with an added concern about the ramifications of U.S. attempts to restrict China’s access to advanced technology. Such changing perceptions help explain why Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials have spoken more about U.S. containment.


However, it has become routine for Chinese analysts to balance their concerns with the argument that any containment strategy will have little success in convincing most regional countries to cooperate. This is a result of China’s continued economic influence and limited U.S. resources that lead states to question the economic and technological benefits of siding with Washington as well as the new theme of a changing military balance that might lead some to question whether the United States can serve as an effective security partner. The conclusion is that while Beijing should not be complacent, China’s best strategy still is to leverage its core advantages as an economic and diplomatic powerhouse to keep the region in its orbit or at least on the fence. The question of how best to deal directly with the United States continues to be discussed, although without a clear consensus for a more aggressive approach. Some in this community continue to argue for cooperation to reduce the chance of instability and to weaken support for steps to contain China.


There is also a disconnect between mainstream policy prescriptions by Chinese strategists and China’s actual policy moves, including coercive activities against territorial rivals and antagonism of major players such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, and India. Rather than executing a “long game” strategy of plying these countries away from the U.S. through carefully coordinated economic statecraft and an attractive diplomatic message, Beijing continues to push them ever closer to its primary strategic competitor.[45] Critiques of this disconnect, in the restricted environment in which these analysts must operate, must be left unstated.


About the Contributors

Joel Wuthnow is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies of the U.S. National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, DC. He also serves as Adjunct Professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Dr. Wuthnow’s latest publications include Gray Dragons: Assessing China’s Senior Military Leadership (INSS China Strategic Perspectives 16, 2022), Crossing the Strait: China’s Military Prepares for War with Taiwan (NDU Press, 2022, lead editor) and The PLA Beyond Borders: Chinese Military Operations in Regional and Global Context (NDU Press, 2021, lead editor).


Elliot Ji is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. He was previously a contract researcher at the Institute for National Strategic Studies of the U.S. National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, DC and a research associate at the Center for Global Security Research at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). His research and commentaries have appeared in the Journal of Contemporary China, International Affairs, War on the Rocks, and The Diplomat.

Notes

[1] Joel Wuthnow, “Just Another Paper Tiger? Chinese Perspectives on the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy,” INSS Strategic Forum 305 (June 2020); Joel Wuthnow, “Chinese Perspectives on U.S. Strategy in Asia, 2017–2021,” Asian Perspective 46:3 (2022), 401–422.

[2] For the complete methodology, see Joel Wuthnow, Elliot Shuwei Ji, and Maj. Oscar Gilroy, “A Methodology for Evaluating Chinese Academic Publications,” INSS Research Memo, August 4, 2021.

[3] Zhao Pu [赵菩] and Li Wei [李巍], “Sustaining Hegemony: The Upgrade of the U.S. ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’” [霸权护持:美国‘印太’战略的升级], Northeast Asia Forum [东北亚论坛], No. 4 (2022), 35; Yan Dexue [阎德学] and Li Shuaiwu [李帅武], “The Upgraded Version of the ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ and Its Threats to China” [‘印台战略’升级版及其对中国的威胁], Social Sciences [社会科学], No. 11 (2021), 48.

[4] Fan Gaoyue [樊高月], “American Indo-Pacific Strategy and Its Implementation and Influence” [美国印太战略及其实施与影响], Northeast Asia Economic Research [东北亚经济研究], No. 5 (2021), 105.

[5] Zhao and Li, “Sustaining Hegemony,” 35.

[6] Yan and Li, “The Upgraded Version of the ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ and Its Threats to China,” 40.

[7] “Xi Calls for Guiding Healthy, High-Quality Development of Private Sector,” Xinhua, March 7, 2023, https://english.news.cn/20230307/0544c3082cbc4da2aa015ec242a844a2/c.html. [8] Yan and Li, “The Upgraded Version of the ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ and Its Threats to China,” 48.

[9] Joel Wuthnow, “China’s Shifting Attitude on the Indo-Pacific Quad,” War on the Rocks, April 7, 2021, https://warontherocks.com/2021/04/chinas-shifting-attitude-on-the-indo-pacific-quad/.

[10] Zhao Minghao [赵明昊], “Alliance System, Composite Camp, and the U.S. ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’” [盟伴体系, 复合阵营, 与美国‘印太战略’], World Politics and Economics [世界经济与政治], No. 6 (2022), 52.

[11] Zhang Weiwei [张薇薇], “The Biden Administration’s ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ From the Perspective of Strategic Analysis” [战略分析视角下的拜登政府‘印太战略’], Peace and Development [和平与发展], No. 2 (2022), 27–28.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ye Hailin [叶海林] and Li Ming’en [李铭恩], “U.S. Adjustments to the ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ and How to Respond for China’s Peripheral Diplomacy” [美国‘印太战略’的调整与中国周边外交的因应], Journal of Latin American Studies [拉丁美洲研究] 45:1 (2023), 43.

[14] Zhang, “The Biden Administration’s ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ From the Perspective of Strategic Analysis,” 24.

[15] Ye and Li, “U.S. Adjustments to the ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ and How to Respond for China’s Peripheral Diplomacy,” 43.

[16] Wei Zongyou [韦宗友], “The Biden Administration’s ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ and Its Influence on China” [拜登政府‘印太战略’及对中国的影响], China International Studies [国家问题研究], No. 3 (2022), 43.

[17] Cao Xiangyang [曹向阳], “New Developments and Challenges for China from the U.S. ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’” [美国‘印太战略’的新进展及其对中国的挑战], Journal of Northeast Asia Studies [东北亚学刊], No. 58 (2021), 115.

[18] Zhao and Li, “Sustaining Hegemony,” 37.

[19] Ibid., 34.

[20] Zhang, “The Biden Administration’s ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ From the Perspective of Strategic Analysis,” 30–33.

[21] Wei Zongyou [韦宗友], “The Evolution and Impact of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy” [美国印太战略演变趋势及影响评估], Frontiers [学术前沿], No. 5 (2021), 45. [22] Ibid., 42–43.

[23] Hu Zhiyong [胡志勇] and Hu Weixing [胡伟星], “Policy Trend Toward China by the Biden Administration and Its Geopolitical Influence: On the Perspective of America’s Indo-Pacific Strategy” [拜登政府对华政策走向及其地缘政治影响: 以美国印太战略为视角], Journal of Yunmeng [云梦学刊], 43:1 (2022), 22.

[24] Cao, “New Developments and Challenges for China from the U.S. ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy,’ 110.

[25] Ye Hailin [叶海林], “The Logical Fallacy of the U.S. ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ and China’s Responses” [美国‘印太战略’的逻辑缺陷与中国的应对], Indian Ocean Economic and Political Review [印度洋经济体研究], No. 5 (2022), 50.

[26] Fan Jishe [樊吉社], “From Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific: The Evolution and Return of U.S. Regional Security Strategy” [从亚太到‘印太’:美国地区安全战略的变迁与回归], International Security Studies [国际安全研究], No. 5 (2022), 52.

[27] Xin Qiang [信强] and Yu Jingyi [余璟仪], “The Biden Administration’s Security Competition with China Against the Background of the ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’” [拜登政府‘印太战略’视阈下的中美安全竞争], Russian Studies [俄罗斯研究], No. 4 (2022), 65–66.

[28] Yan and Li, “The Upgraded Version of the ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ and Its Threats to China,” 52.

[29] Fan, “From Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific,” 51-2.

[30] We coded these arguments as “lack of material capability.”

[31] Ye and Li, “U.S. Adjustments to the ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ and How to Respond for China’s Peripheral Diplomacy,” 38.

[32] Hu and Hu, “Policy Trend Toward China by the Biden Administration and Its Geopolitical Influence,” 9.

[33] Wei, “The Biden Administration’s “Indo-Pacific Strategy” and Its Influence on China, 39–40.

[34] Li Chen [李晨], “The Biden Administration Formally Issues Its ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’” [拜登政府正式出台‘印太战略’], World Affairs [世界知识], No. 6 (2022), 39.

[35] Wei, “The Evolution and Impact of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy,” 9–98.

[36] Zhang Jie [张洁], “The Deepening of the U.S. ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ Threatens Regional Order and Stability” [美国‘印台战略’的深化挑战地区秩序稳定], World Affairs [世界知识], No. 15 (2021), 29.

[37] Ye, “The Logical Fallacy of the U.S. ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ and China’s Responses,” 13.

[38] Ibid., 14. Interestingly, Ye also cites Mao Zedong’s 1940 essay on handling the Anti-Japanese War [目前抗日统一战线中的策略问题], noting that it has “inspirational meaning” for China in the context of contemporary strategic competition. The translation of Mao’s essay can be found at https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-2/mswv2_34.htm.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Liu Lin [刘琳], “The Biden Administration's ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’: Is Its Military Security Importance Declining?” [拜登政府 ‘印太战略’:军事安全重要性下降?], World Affairs [世界知识], No. 7 (2022), 37. Note that this piece was written before the selection of Li Shangfu as China’s defense minister at the 20th Party Congress; the selection of Li, who has been subjected to U.S. sanctions, creates a new variable that reduces the prospects for military engagements. For other Chinese assessments on crisis communications, see Amanda Hsiao et al., “How Beijing Approaches Crisis Management,” CSIS Interpret: China, November 22, 2022, https://interpret.csis.org/how-beijing-approaches-crisis-management/.

[43] Zhao, “Alliance System, Composite Camp, and the U.S. ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy,’” 28.

[44] Cao, “New Developments and Challenges for China from the U.S. ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy,’” 117–118.

[45] For an analysis, see Andrew D. Taffer and David Wallsh, “China’s Indo-Pacific Folly: Beijing’s Belligerence Is Revitalizing U.S. Alliances,” Foreign Affairs, January 31, 2023, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/asia/china-indo-pacific-folly.

Photo credit: 首相官邸ホームページ, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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