Connotation and Dilemma of the US Indo-Pacific Strategy and China’s Responses

  • Peng Liu
Part of the Research Series on the Chinese Dream and China’s Development Path book series (RSCDCDP)


The collective rise of the eastern countries represented by China and India has caused the shift of world’s center of gravity. In response to this situation, the Indo-Pacific region with the ocean as the main boundary has become the central stage for the game of all countries. Indo-Pacific has also quickly transformed from a geographic concept into geographic reality and entered into national strategies of various countries. The name of the US’s Indo-Pacific strategy may change with the change of the Trump administration, but the core content of the Indo-Pacific strategy will remain unchanged. In other words, the US strengthens the existing alliances and establishes new alliances to contain China’s rapid rise, thus preventing any force in the Indo-Pacific region from threatening the US hegemony. The US’ current Indo-Pacific strategy is the concentric circles of the US-Indo-Pacific, the US-South Asia, and the US-India established according to the realism and the Cold War mentality based on the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia-Pacific”. The Australia-India-Japan-US alliance or Quad, which has been greatly discussed in China, may not be established realistically. However, the United States is increasing its military presence in Indo-Pacific region and establishing the bilateral or multilateral networks through alliances in the Indo-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific order, aimed to establish a “free and open Indo-Pacific”, is actually an exclusive system design against China, which will have a direct impact on China’s “Belt and Road” and Indo-Pacific maritime cooperation. To this end, while prudently and resolutely promoting the implementation of the “Belt and Road”, China should encourage the institutional design of ASEAN-dominated Indo-Pacific structure and support the establishment of an open Indo-Pacific system arrangement based on the existing East Asia Summit. This should become the main content of China’s Indo-Pacific strategy.


Indo-Pacific strategy Concentric circle Transactional diplomacy The quad Indo-Pacific system design 



Supported by: Study on the Impact of Southeast Asian Security Pattern on China’s Implementation of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (16ZDA091), a major project of the National Social Science Fund of China (NSSFC) in 2016; Study on the Impact of International Mechanisms of the Indian Ocean Region on Maritime Silk Road Construction (15CGJ030), a youth project of the National Social Science Fund of China (NSSFC) in 2015.


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© Social Sciences Academic Press and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peng Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Institute for Indian Ocean EconomiesYunnan University of Finance and EconomicsKunmingChina

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