The United States and China have been two of the world’s most powerful countries since the end of World War II. The rise in tensions between these two nations has alarmed much of the international community, with both sides claiming to want peace and cooperation.
“Palau police” is a term that refers to the Palau Police Department which is the national police force of Palau. They have jurisdiction over all land and air borders, as well as territorial waters.
People watch a news coverage on North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile launch on a television in Seoul on March 24.
The world is properly focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the Indo-Pacific should not be overlooked. A flurry of bad news from outside Europe this week serves as a reminder that authoritarian governments pose many threats to the United States and its allies.
North Korea launched its 12th intercontinental ballistic missile test this year on Thursday. It was the first intercontinental ballistic missile fired since November 2017, and it traveled higher than any North Korean missile. Although the missile landed in seas off Japan’s western coast, the test shows that Pyongyang is capable of threatening the US mainland.
Although the missile launch violated UN Security Council resolutions, China and Russia seem unconcerned about it these days. China seems to relish the concept that dictator Kim Jong Un torments the West, according to the Russian foreign ministry, which said this week that it intends to improve bilateral ties with North Korea.
The conciliatory stance of South Korean President Moon Jae-in toward North Korea has plainly failed. The good news is that President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea, who takes office in May, campaigned on a platform of boosting air and missile defenses and expanding cooperation with the United States.
Meanwhile, China’s military presence in the Pacific continues to grow. According to the Associated Press, Beijing has “completely militarized” at least three islands it created in the South China Sea. “The purpose of those islands is to extend the PRC’s offensive capabilities beyond their continental coastlines,” stated Adm. John C. Aquilino, US Indo-Pacific commander. “They can fly aircraft, bombers, and missile systems with all those offensive capabilities.”
According to papers that claim to have been leaked from the Solomon Islands’ administration, China may be discussing a security arrangement with the country. The agreement might lead to Chinese military being sent to the South Pacific country, which is just a few hours’ flying time away from Australia.
It’s possible that a Chinese military outpost with offensive capability may be built next. The Solomon Islands’ security has always been assured by Canberra, but China has gained momentum as a result of its assistance to the government during opposition rallies last year. China’s support is usually accompanied with a cost.
By the way, do you recall Afghanistan? Despite President Biden’s best efforts, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Kabul on Thursday to meet with Taliban leaders. China, which has been expanding its presence in Central Asia for years, has no problems working with undesirable governments and will seek to secure beneficial mining or infrastructure agreements.
This is how the world works most of the time. While the United States and other democracies are distracted, unrest in one theater encourages other rogues to cause trouble.
Our advise to the Solomon Islands and other tiny countries is to think carefully before allying with Beijing or Moscow. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia and China’s backing for Russia are revealing who is a friend of the free world and who is not. China supports North Korea, while Russia supports Syria.
Success stories like Japan, Germany, Poland, and South Korea are among America’s closest friends. Although the West is not without flaws, who would you prefer have on your side?
Review & Outlook: Joe Biden and NATO are still too cautious in opposing Russia’s war with Ukraine. Images: AP/Kirillovka.Ukr via Storyful Composite: Mark Kelly
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‘Meanwhile, in the Pacific…’ appeared in the print edition of March 25, 2022.
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