Is the US creating an Indo-Pacific version of NATO to deter China?

To better protect security in the region, countries should rather focus on “developing patterns of co-operation and interdependence”, said Mahbubani, who spearheads the National University of Singapore’s Asian Peace Programme.

He cited the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership — the world’s largest free trade deal — which entered into force in January and counts Australia and China among its members. “Submarines are stealthy, but trade agreements are stealthier,” he said.


What is “somewhat of a mystery” to Mahbubani is the Quad, comprising Australia, India, Japan and the US.

“The four countries deny that it’s aimed against China. But the perception is that it’s against China,” he noted. “It creates this rather strange situation.

“Which is why, if you notice, not many other East Asian countries have volunteered to join it … It’s therefore important for the members of the Quad to explain what exactly the endgame of the Quad is.”

Artmotion Asia

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