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Riaz Khokhar
Riaz Khokhar
Riaz Khokhar is a research analyst on geopolitics and security of the Indo-Pacific region and a former Asia studies visiting fellow at East-West Center in Washington. Follow him on Twitter @Riaz1Khokhar

Despite its strategic location, the Gwadar port is not as attractive as the ones in Karachi and Ormara, nor does Islamabad seem interested in a permanent Chinese naval presence.

Tokyo could reach out to other countries within the Indo-Pacific region that share its concerns regarding Beijing. Excluding extra-regional powers, but including China in the forum would enable progress on rules for economic activity, navigation and exercises in the region.

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There are good reasons to leave states to resolve things bilaterally. Instead, the code should bind China and Asean into good behaviours: respecting the status quo and refraining from military activity.

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To counter Taiwanese pro-independence and foreign forces, Beijing is developing three strategies: demonstrating conventional and cyber warfare capabilities to deter the US; moving to engage in dialogue with regional US allies; and utilising economic statecraft.

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Biden may be distracted by debt ceiling talks but in the Indo-Pacific, Japan still bears the torch for US interests along with Australia, with the South Asia strategy outsourced to India.

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China’s strong economic ties and a weak, unfocused Asean favour the expansion of its defence network. But its disregard for international law, particularly the 2016 South China Sea ruling, will make it hard to build trust

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China and Asean claimants could draw inspiration from the four-point formula Pakistan used to try to resolve its Kashmir stalemate with India. This would involve agreeing on shared sovereignty and joint economic development, with a binding code of conduct the goal, and eventual settlement of disputes an added bonus.

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From the South China Sea to Indian border, China’s actions in its backyard are raising eyebrows even as it slams hegemony and calls for a multilateral security order. Instead of imposing its view on the neighbourhood, China should engage in dialogue and diplomacy.

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The way the submarine deal is structured sets a bad precedent of supplying a non-nuclear weapon state and NPT member with weapons-grade fuel. If the Aukus partners want to set good standards for non-proliferation, they should expand IAEA safeguards or abandon using nuclear submarine technology.

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The success of virtual nuclear testing has set the stage for ratification of the nuclear test ban treaty, but India still wants to conduct nuclear tests. A breach of norms against testing should invite universal condemnation and punitive action, and not be enabled by a waiver of sanctions.

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By making its vaccines available to a large swathe of the developing world, China has presented itself as a responsible global power, in stark contrast to the rich West. The US’ aloof attitude towards Asean has also left a void for China to fill.

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