James Jatras, who is a specialist in international relations and legislative politics in Washington, DC, made the remarks in an interview while commenting on reports a statement of a top US military official regarding China.
Head of the US military’s Pacific command Admiral Harry Harris, known for his combative views on China, has said China is a disruptive power in the Indo-Pacific region urging countries in the region to build capabilities and work together to counter the Communist country.
“I believe the reality is that China is a disruptive transitional force in the Indo-Pacific, they are owner of the ‘trust deficit’ that we all have spent the last hour talking about,” Harris said on Thursday referring to discussions at a security conference sponsored by the Indian government.
The United States has criticized China’s construction of islands and build-up of military facilities in the South China Sea, saying they could be used to restrict free nautical movement.
China says there is no issue with freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and opposes efforts to use it as an “excuse” to infringe on China’s sovereignty and security interests.
“This whole notion of an Indo-Pacific region as a strategic concept is very, very dubious. This is designed simply to try to justify a combination with the United States, India and Japan against China,” Jatras said.
“I don’t think it has much in the way of likes to it. It certainly is not in India’s interest. It’s not in Japan’s interest either. It simply shows a lack of strategic vision on the part of Washington policy makers with respect to China’s weight in the Pacific region, and the need for the United States to come to terms with that,” he added.
“Unfortunately it seems that President Trump is listening to people who are thinking tactically rather than strategically. And I don’t think it really shows coherence in American policy with respect to China’s interest specifically in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea,” the analyst concluded.
The United States had proposed joint patrols with the Indian navy in the Indian Ocean. New Delhi, worried about a backlash from China, said no such actions were planned.
But India has begun holding trilateral naval exercises with the US and Japan that military experts say could eventually include Australia as well.
China is in a territorial dispute with India and with some of its other neighbors in the East and South China Sea. While strengthening its military, the country has been seeking a peaceful rise to a global power status.