The University of Sydney’s United States Study Centre has warned the US has lost its military presence in the Indian Ocean, the western and central Pacific Ocean, and the seas connecting the two in the general area of Indonesia, also known more commonly as the Indo-Pacific. In a report called “Averting Crisis: American strategy, military spending and collective defence in the Indo-Pacific”, the document claims “America no longer enjoys military primacy in the Indo-Pacific and its capacity to uphold a favourable balance of power is increasingly uncertain”. The report warns that although Donald Trump’s military is still an amicable force in the waters, the “combined effect of ongoing wars in the Middle East, budget austerity, underinvestment in advanced military capabilities and the scale of America’s liberal order-building agenda has left the US armed forces ill-prepared for great power competition in the Indo-Pacific”.
The same report also warns that China would be able to use the US lack of reach to launch a colossal military attack against President Trump’s regional allies.
This would see China achieve victory before the US even has a chance to respond, NewsWeek reports.
The report said: “Having studied the American way of war — premised on power projection and all-domain military dominance — China has deployed a formidable array of precision missiles and other counter-intervention systems to undercut America’s military primacy.
“By making it difficult for US forces to operate within range of these weapons, Beijing could quickly use limited force to achieve a fait accompli victory — particularly around Taiwan, the Japanese archipelago or maritime Southeast Asia — before America can respond, sowing doubt about Washington’s security guarantees in the process.”
The report comes amid extreme tension between the US and China, who continue to lock horns over trade while Beijing relentlessly touts unauthorised areas in the territorial South China Sea.
Two warships from the US sailed through the hotly disputed area in May and two B-52H also from Washington flew over the waters in March, two months before.
Last week, President Trump secured a mammoth $8 billion (£6.6 billion) arms deal with Taiwan in what is a major blow to China’s dominance in the South China Sea.
Under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s nine-dash line, Beijing has looked to increase its control over the region.
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She concluded: “China urges the US to fully recognise the highly sensitive and harmful nature of the relevant issue, abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, refrain from selling F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan and stop arms sales to and military contact with Taiwan.
“Otherwise, the Chinese side will surely make strong reactions, and the US will have to bear all the consequences.”