As China rapidly modernises its military, the United States is concerned about how those new PLA investments might be used in the Indo-Pacific region, especially in the Taiwan Strait. Logistics are also an issue for the US when operating in waters far from American shores – something deputy defence secretary Kathleen Hicks on Monday said would be strengthened by working with allies and partners in the region. “For the United States to be effective in the Pacific, we already know we have a significant logistics challenge, worsened by the reliance that we have on fuel,” she said at a summit organised by news website Defense One. The US has worked closely with allies in the region, such as Japan and Australia, to ensure that – in the event of a confrontation with China – it does not make the same logistical blunders of the Russian forces in Ukraine. “So that means we have to work very hard here at [the Department of Defence]. We have to work in close partnership with our allies and partners abroad,” Hicks said, highlighting that the US had to develop “combat-credible capability that can deter aggression”. But it remains unclear what obligations those partners and allies would have should a conflict break out across the Taiwan Strait. The level of support would also depend on the country’s foreign policy and its economic ties with China. Chinese concerns rise over US policy shift on Taiwan Collin Koh, a research fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said the US expected allies to be more reliable in assisting with logistics since they were bound by mutual defence treaties and political obligations. “For partners, this is where it gets shaky,” he said. “You can’t expect partners to help simply because they don’t have a formal alliance treaty … and they have no obligation to help.” But he said certain partners – such as India, Singapore and Indonesia – may step in to provide the US with logistical aid. Japan and South Korea, led by the US-friendly President Yoon Suk-yeol, could also be expected to support the US. Tensions are rising in the region, where Beijing has territorial disputes with neighbours – many of them US allies and partners – in the South China Sea and the East China Sea . Taiwan – the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own – has also become a flashpoint in US-China relations. Beijing has ramped up pressure on Taipei in recent years, and has not ruled out the use of force to take control of the island. After Beijing on Monday asserted that it held sovereign rights over the Taiwan Strait , Washington said it was international waters and that the US would continue to fly over and sail through it. Andrei Chang, editor-in-chief of the Canada-based Kanwa Asian Defence Monthly , said Taiwan would face a “serious problem” if a war with Beijing did break out, and it would only be able to hold out for a short time if the US did not supply weapons, equipment, ammunition and fuel. He noted that the US military had equipment in every region on the soil of other countries that could be quickly deployed. “If war breaks out across the Taiwan Strait and the US military needs to take part in it, all they need to do is to fly there on a civilian plane without needing to bring their guns,” he said. “When they arrive in Japan, they can directly pick up their equipment from the warehouse and go to the front line.” “Also, once Japan intervenes, the Communist Party of China will not let Japan go,” Chang said. “Japan is in an awkward position.” Koh noted that – unlike Russia – China’s economic clout reaches most of the world, and it had for years been investing to build up strategic leverage. The US has been seeking to strengthen partnerships in the region through alliances such as Aukus and the Quad, which China sees as a strategy to contain it. The Pentagon has also proposed a US$27 billion Pacific Deterrence Initiative that aims to boost missile systems, training, logistics and intelligence-sharing with regional allies.