Uneasy peace in Indo-Pacific due to recent Chinese actions: US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi

PTI | Washington DC | Updated: 14-08-2022 12:45 IST | Created: 14-08-2022 12:42 IST
Uneasy peace in Indo-Pacific due to recent Chinese actions: US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi
Raja Krishnamoorthi Image Credit: Twitter(@CongressmanRaja)
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There is an ''uneasy peace'' in the Indo-Pacific due to China's recent aggressive actions, an influential US Congressman has said, underlining that India and the US should work together with countries such as Japan, South Korea and Australia for maintaining stability in the strategically vital region.

Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who has just returned from a historic trip to the region, including Taiwan, as part of a US Congressional delegation led by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in an interview with PTI said one of the interesting topics of conversation during their travels was the rise of India and the importance of the country playing a greater role.

The Congressional delegation led by Pelosi travelled to Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. In Taipei, much to the anger of China, thousands of Taiwanese turned out in the middle of the night to welcome their American guests.

''I think there is an uneasy peace (in the region). In all the countries we visited, whether it was Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Korea or Taiwan, there is a real concern about aggression from the People's Republic of China (PRC),'' the 49-year-old Democratic Party leader said.

China's military launched a week-long military exercises around Taiwan in retaliation for Pelosi's high-profile visit to the self-ruled island, which Beijing views as a rebel province that must be reunified with the mainland, even by force.

China's provocative military drills around Taiwan raised global concerns that Beijing may be preparing to annex the self-ruled island.

In the Indo-Pacific region, where India can exert influence, especially through initiatives such as the Quad in providing stability and security, ''I think that partnership with India is extremely important for maintaining an international rules-based order,'' Krishnamoorthi said. In November 2017, the US, India, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the four-nation Quad grouping to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence, amid China's growing military presence in the strategic region.

''And so, when the PRC throws itself militarily at its neighbours, whether it is in the South China Sea, or Taiwan, or even against India on the western border of China, then the neighbours...get very concerned...They definitely want an increased security presence from the United States, among others,'' Krishnamoorthi said. He said India and the US working together with countries such as Japan, South Korea, Australia and other Indo-Pacific nations is indispensable for maintaining stability in the region. He described the challenge from China as ''very serious''.

The Congressman said the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) has unfortunately botched its response to COVID-19, causing tremendous economic uncertainty and a slowdown in China's economy, the world's second largest.

''So there are tremendous domestic pressures on the leadership of the PRC, including President Xi Jinping, who is seeking a third term at the upcoming party congress, the Chinese Communist Party Congress, in November,'' Krishnamoorthi said.

At the same time, China is undergoing other challenges, including a huge demographic shift in the population when over 70 million (seven crore) people are going to leave the working-age population, he said.

''And tens of millions of more people will be added to the retirement population. So their working-age population is diminishing, even at the same time that there are all these economic challenges,'' he said.

''I think that a lot of the neighbours are concerned that the Chinese Communist Party is going to try to deflect attention from their internal challenges by rallying to nationalist causes such as Taiwan and a forcible reunification with Taiwan,'' Krishnamoorthi observed.

''The partnership between the United States and India and other countries is not intended for ganging up on the People's Republic of China,'' he said.

The US, along with several world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the resource-rich region. China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. China also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea. ''My hope is that someday, all the nations of the region can collaborate on confronting challenges of mutual interests such as fighting global climate change, for instance,'' he said. ''But in the meantime, we cannot have one country move militarily against another or try to use coercion or force to get its way,'' said Krishnamoorthi, who is also a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Pelosi, he told PTI, was welcomed as a hero in all the capitals that they visited. ''She is known as a champion of human rights and democracy. For instance, when we landed in Taiwan, there were thousands of people who greeted us at the airport and lined the streets in the capital even at midnight. The tallest skyscraper in the country had the words 'Thank you, Speaker Pelosi' in lights,'' he said on the visit of the 82-year-old top Democratic Party leader.

''That is how she was greeted and that is how we were greeted,'' he added.

Pelosi, head of one of three branches of the US government, became the highest-ranking elected American official to visit Taiwan since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich made a trip to Taipei in 1997.

He said during their Singapore visit, they met many Indian-origin people who are at the upper echelons of the country's government. ''And it was very nice to meet them, fellow Indian-origin people, and discuss our heritage, our common values and our backstories. It was heartening to see the Indian-origin community really flourishing in Singapore and other parts of the region,'' Krishnamoorthi said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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