Libmonster ID: UK-1316
Author(s) of the publication: Ya. V. LEKSYUTINA

Ya. V. LEKSYUTINA, Doctor of Political Sciences Saint Petersburg State University

Keywords: US-China rivalry, Asia-Pacific region, USA, China, security in the Asia-Pacific region, Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Asia-Pacific region (AP) is undergoing major changes in the 21st century. Changes are taking place not only in the political elites, but also in the internal political life of the countries of the region (for example, democratic transformations in Myanmar). The economic power of a number of states is rapidly strengthening, and integration processes in the economy are gaining momentum, both on a bilateral basis in the form of free trade agreements and in the form of creating extensive regional trade and economic blocs.

At the same time, some alarming trends are also developing, such as the aggravation of territorial disputes at sea and on land, the militarization of the region, and the arms race. At the same time, one of the most important factors influencing the changes taking place in the region was the strengthening of China's economic and, in general, national power, the growing interest of the Chinese leadership in expanding its presence in its immediate environment, and as its operational capabilities increase, in other, more remote regions of the world [1].

The second such factor was the 2011 decision of the Obama administration to "pivot to Asia", based on traditional military and political tools.

The updated US strategy of" containing China " covers four areas. The first is the revival of the ANZUS military Alliance (USA, Australia and New Zealand), which was established in 1951. In November 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Wellington Declaration with New Zealand and the Sydney Agreement with Australia to expand the military partnership.

The second is to build a new system of presence in Indochina. In July 2011, the US Congress officially supported Vietnam in its conflict with China in the South China Sea. Following this, in the summer of 2012, US Secretary of Defense L. Panetta visited Vietnam, and the parties talked about the possibility of cooperation in the military sphere.

The third direction is the expansion of military partnership with India. Fourth , the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is aimed at strengthening the US geo-economic position in the region against the backdrop of a challenge from China, which is increasing its economic influence in the Asia-Pacific region and seeking to take a central place in regional integration processes.

All taken together, there is a growing US-China regional rivalry.

The first signs of growing contradictions can be seen in the involvement of the United States in China's territorial disputes with the ASEAN states in the South China Sea. Thus, the Asia-Pacific region becomes not only the center of development of the global economy, world trade and politics, but also the forefront of strategic rivalry between the great powers.

The conditions that developed at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries favored Beijing in strengthening its diplomatic and economic positions in East Asia.

First, China has accumulated sufficient economic power to project its influence through trade development, extensive investment, and development assistance to countries in the region.

Secondly, after the Asian financial and economic crisis of 1997-1998, in overcoming the consequences of which Beijing played a crucial role, China's authority in the region significantly strengthened. The perception of China as a threat, which could hypothetically hinder the development of contacts between Beijing and the United States-

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But in the Asian countries, it gradually began to fade away. Finally, the post-cold War "power vacuum" situation in the Asia-Pacific region opened up ample opportunities for China to fill it.

After the end of the bipolar confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, interest in the region from the only superpower in the world - the United States - weakened. As a result of the events of September 11, 2001, countering international terrorism became one of the central tasks of Washington, and the Middle East became a regional priority in American foreign policy for the next decade. To some extent, the United States withdrew from active participation in the Asia-Pacific region, which allowed Beijing to strengthen its position there almost unhindered for more than 10 years.

The growing scale of China's economic, diplomatic, cultural and other ties with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, of course, increased Beijing's influence on the development of events in this region, and undermined Washington's claims to a leading role in the Asia-Pacific region.

In view of the ongoing changes in the Asia-Pacific region and its rise to the leading positions in the global economy and politics, the US leadership began to closely link the main foreign policy task of preserving the US global leadership with maintaining its dominant positions in this region.

Washington's awareness of the need to regain some of its lost ground in this part of the world and prevent China from becoming a regional leader occurred in the last years of George W. Bush's tenure. As president, it was fully reflected in the foreign policy strategy already under the Obama administration.

The widely announced shift of the US geopolitical focus to the Asia-Pacific region in 2011, known as the "pivot to Asia "or" rebalancing towards the Asia-Pacific", suggested strengthening the system of military and political alliances with the countries of the region (with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines,etc.). Thailand and Australia), strengthening and forming new partnerships with other key States (Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Singapore), participating in multilateral formats of interaction (in particular, intensifying contacts with ASEAN), expanding trade and investment, and spreading the principles of democracy and human rights (with a focus on Myanmar and Vietnam) [2].

China sees the East Asian region as its natural sphere of influence, and any changes in it directly affect the country's national security. The increasingly frequent statements made by US officials that "the twenty-first century will become America's Pacific Century "[3] cannot but cause the Chinese leadership to be wary.

Although US-China relations are officially described by the top leaders of the two countries as "cooperative partnership" [4], in reality they are marked by a number of contradictions. They are based on fundamental differences in the political regimes, ideologies, value systems and models of economic development of the two countries, their disposition as a superpower of one and a potential superpower of the other.

The continued perception of bilateral relations between China and the United States through the prism of the "zero-sum game"* leads to a rather strong US-Chinese rivalry in the Asia-Pacific region. At the present stage, it is developing along two main vectors: competition for the priority model of integration economic processes in the region and military-political rivalry.


The first vector of US-China rivalry, which takes "soft", non - violent forms and potentially does not conceal the threat of destabilization of the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and, in general, meets the interests of the region's development, is competition for the priority of the model of economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region. In view of the rapidly developing processes of regional economic integration, it is important for each of the countries - the United States and China-to expand their regional influence by directing integration processes in a direction that is beneficial for them. Each side seeks to play a leading role in shaping the new economic architecture of the Asia-Pacific region and in creating a regional system of rules in the field of trade and investment activities.

Today, the Asia-Pacific region occupies a leading position in the world as a region with the largest number of free trade agreements. It is relatively late for Asian countries to use such agreements as a tool for their trade policy. However, the number of agreements between 2000 and April 2013 increased from 3 to a record 76 [5]. Moreover, for a long time in the region is Wuxi-

Zero sum game - a term from the book" Game Theory and Economic Behavior " (1944), written by two authors - J. von Neumann (1903-1957) and O. Morgenstern (1902-1977). This is what the authors of the book called any "game" (including economic and military rivalries) in which the gain of one "player" is equal to the loss of the other. During the years of rivalry between the USSR and the United States, political scientists usually described the nature and logic of their relationship in this way. For example, the arms race (approx. ed.).

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Further work is underway on the creation of an extensive regional free trade agreement (FTA), similar to the EU Common markets or the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). At the time of the activation of US policy in the ATP in 2008 - 2009, the most well-known and discussed projects were the ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+6 Free Trade Zones, both of which excluded US participation.

In this regard, in order not to be on the sidelines in the emerging Asia-Pacific economic space, Washington has begun to form its own integration association, where it would be given a leading role. Washington's attention was drawn to the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership created by Brunei, New Zealand, Singapore and Chile in 2005, on the basis of which the United States intended to conclude a new comprehensive regional trade agreement involving the creation of a free trade zone - the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The start of negotiations on the TPP was laid by the statement of B. Obama in 2010 at the APEC leaders ' meeting in Yokohama. Supporting the US initiative, Australia, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam then entered into negotiations to join this association. In November 2011, during the meetings of APEC leaders in Honolulu, Washington again raised this issue and emphasized the prospects of creating a free trade zone [6]. Putting forward the idea of creating a TPP has become a symbol of the United States ' diplomatic and economic return to the region.

At the current, final stage of negotiations on the creation of the TPP, its participants are 12 states (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam) with a population of about 796 million people (about 11% of the world population) and a total GDP of $27.53 This represents 38.3% of the world's GDP [7].

The TPP, which is positioned by Washington as the "agreement of the XXI century", assumes a comprehensive deep liberalization of trade and investment activities and sets very high standards in the activities of state-owned enterprises, public procurement, legal standards of labor relations, environmental protection, protection of intellectual property rights, investor rights, etc.

The demands put forward by Washington for the countries participating in the future partnership are so high that to date, they have not been implemented in any functioning trade association. This, as well as more than significant differences in the level of economic and social development of the 12 countries, call into question the success of the Washington initiative. Even an advanced market economy like Japan has been hesitant to enter TPP negotiations for a long time. The decision announced on March 15, 2013 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to join the negotiations was dictated not by the potential economic benefits of participating in the newly created association, but by the desire to strengthen relations with the United States against the backdrop of escalating territorial disputes with China.

The idea of the TPP promoted by Washington is a competition of this model with another model of regional integration that meets the interests of China - the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP), which involves the creation of a free trade zone in the ASEAN format+6. Negotiations on the creation of an Asean-centric integration association were conducted by the leaders of East Asian states for a long time, long before Washington's plans to create the TPP.

At the official level, the idea of creating a RCEP was announced in November 2011 during the 19th ASEAN Summit and at the next summit in Phnom Penh on November 20, 2012, the start of negotiations was announced. Several rounds of negotiations were held: in May 2013 in Brunei, in September 2013 in Brisbane (Australia), in January 2014 in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and in March-April 2014 in Nanning (China). The completion of negotiations on the creation of a new agreement is scheduled for the end of 2015 [8].

The Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership includes 10 ASEAN countries and six ASEAN free trade agreement partners-Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. The population of this group of countries is over 3.4 billion. more than 48% of the world's population), and the total GDP is $21.23 trillion, which is equivalent to 29.5% of the world's GDP [9]. The requirements imposed on the countries participating in the agreement are significantly lower than in the case of the TPP, which makes the RCEP more economically attractive for a number of East Asian states that are not ready for deep trade liberalization.

Thus, two alternative models of regional economic integration have been developed in the Asia-Pacific region: the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership. Theoretically, these two associations can exist in parallel, and the participation of any state in one of them does not exclude the possibility of membership in the other. So, Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan are participating in negotiations on the creation of both the TPP and the RCEP. However, we can not exclude the possibility of the development of integration-

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This will lead to a significant strengthening of the regional positions of one of the states to the detriment of the interests of the other - either the United States or China.

Most experts do not doubt the dominant role of the United States in the TPP, where, despite the formal openness of this association, the world's second economy, China, is unlikely to enter due to the specifics of the criteria presented. The share of the United States in the total GDP of the 12 countries negotiating the TPP is about 57% [10].

As for the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership, the main role will be played by China, which accounts for about 39% of the GDP of the 16 countries included in this association [11]. According to experts, Japan and India, which are members of the RCEP, "are unlikely to be able to balance Chinese power" [12].

The success of the TPP may have extremely negative consequences for Beijing. In this case, Beijing will either have to accept Washington's traditional demands for revaluation of the national Chinese currency, protection of intellectual property rights, etc., or find itself in a potentially disadvantageous position of a party excluded from the preferential trade zone, which will lead to certain losses for China. The development of integration processes according to the American scenario will create a situation where China will have to function in a system (in this case, we are talking about a regional system) that was created without its participation under the conditions formulated by the United States.

Beijing is well aware that now, when the integration processes in the Asia-Pacific region are only at the initial stage of their development, China has a unique opportunity, a "historic chance" to become at the origins of the formation of a regional economic architecture that meets its interests. For Washington, the development of integration under the auspices of China is fraught with the loss of leadership positions in the region. In fact, the Asia-Pacific region is now fighting for the right to formulate new rules of the game and create institutions on the basis of which the future regional economic system will be based.

The creation of new integration associations, in addition to the task of consolidating their leading roles in the ongoing integration processes in the Asia-Pacific region, also covers the practical interests of the United States and China in stimulating bilateral trade with the countries of the region. This is especially true for Washington in light of the fact that in recent years the US economic position in the region has significantly shaken. By 2013, China had firmly established itself as the largest trading partner of ASEAN as a whole and of many Asia-Pacific countries separately, including Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Mongolia, and North Korea.

However, the creation of the TPP would help both strengthen trade and economic ties between the United States and the countries of the region, and restore the American economy as a whole by expanding access of American goods to growing Asian markets, increasing American exports, and creating new jobs in export-oriented enterprises.


The second vector of the US-China confrontation in the Asia-Pacific region is military-political rivalry. Despite the widespread concept of "soft power"in the twenty-first century, the military power of the State continues to play an important role in international relations. It is the military presence in the region that is seen in Washington and Beijing as a necessary measure to protect their national interests. An important role in this regard is played by the development of military-political cooperation with the countries of the region, the acquisition or preservation of allies or close partners.

It is not surprising that the last few years have been marked by the intensification of military and political cooperation between the two competing powers-the United States and China - with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. Washington seeks to strengthen, and in the case of Thailand and the Philippines, reanimate, its traditional bilateral and trilateral alliances - the US-Japan-Australia, the US-Japan-South Korea.

There are attempts to "pull" the key states of the region to their side. In the center of the political and diplomatic efforts of the United States and China were countries that cannot be clearly attributed to the spheres of American or Chinese influence: Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand. Beijing's main tools for attracting "on its side" are financing infrastructure projects in the region, providing generous assistance and, in general, demonstrating the high economic benefits that the development of relations with China promises. As for Washington, it has an important trump card: the countries of the Asia-Pacific region are alarmed by the growing complex power of their immediate neighbor, China, and are trying to find a counterweight to it.

In order to demonstrate the steadfastness of its leadership positions in the Asia-Pacific region and exert appropriate psychological pressure on the Chinese leadership, Washington has taken a number of symbolic steps. Thus, in November 2011, the United States and the Philippines jointly adopted the Manila Declaration on Strengthening Bilateral Defense Cooperation, designed to remind the world of the inviolability of mutual defense.-

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sw between the two countries [14]. A year later (2012), the United States and Thailand signed the "Joint Vision for a U.S.-Thailand Defense Alliance" statement. This was the first document of its kind in the half-century of allied relations between the two countries. In November 2010 and June 2012, the United States and New Zealand signed the Wellington and Washington Declarations, which opened a new page in the development of bilateral military cooperation, which was interrupted in the mid-1980s.

At the same time, Washington began to build up its military presence in the region and, first of all, its naval forces. In June 2012, then US Secretary of Defense L. Panetta specified the activities of the "return to Asia" course, indicating that by 2020 the ratio of warships based in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans will change from equal to the ratio of 40 to 60. In the Pacific Ocean, it is proposed to place 6 of the 10 active US aircraft carriers, most of the American cruisers, destroyers, coastal warships and submarines [15]. The total number of US warships permanently based in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to increase from 51 in 2014 to 58 in 2015, and finally to 67 by 2020. [16]

At the same time, the Pentagon's plans provide for not only a quantitative increase in the armed forces in the region, but also an improvement in their qualitative and technological characteristics. It is in the Asia-Pacific region that the United States now intends to deploy the most advanced types of weapons. According to the plans of the US military command, fourth-generation Virginia submarines will be sent to Guam, and fifth-generation F-22 Raptor and F - 35 strike fighters will be sent to American bases in Japan. By 2022, 11 coastal warships will be stationed in the Pacific Ocean (4 - in Singapore, 7 - in Sasebo, Japan) [17].

The priority of expanding the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region in the US military-strategic calculations is evidenced by the fact that even in the context of the federal budget sequestration, which implies a significant reduction in defense spending [18], Washington did not abandon its plans. In June 2013, during the" Shangri-La Dialogue " * US Secretary of Defense Ch. Hagel stressed that financial difficulties will not affect the expansion of the US military presence in Asia [19].

Beijing is also increasing its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region and continues to rapidly implement military construction. China's defense budget continues to grow: according to official data (which, according to Western sources, are significantly underestimated), in 2014 it increased by 12.2% compared to the previous year, and amounted to about $132 billion. [20]. Beijing pays great attention to strengthening the navy and increasing the scale of its military presence in the surrounding seas. This is due both to the need to defend its territorial claims in the South and East China Seas, and to the desire to expand its capabilities for conducting operations on the high seas.

In the fall of 2012, at the XVIII Congress of the Communist Party of China, the course of China's development as a strong maritime power was publicly announced for the first time. The construction of a large Chinese naval base Yulin on the southern coast of Hainan Island has been completed. China's first aircraft carrier was put into service (September 2012), which was converted on the basis of the Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag purchased from Ukraine. A new military port in Qingdao, designed for the aircraft carrier fleet, was put into operation, and a program for creating an aircraft carrier fleet by the national industry was launched.

China already has Asia's largest fleet of submarines, surface ships, and amphibious assault ships. According to the US Department of Defense, the PLA Navy includes 77 advanced surface warships, more than 60 submarines, 55 amphibious ships, and about 85 missile-equipped ships of other categories [21]. Due to the aggravation of China's territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, and Japan, recent years have been marked by an increase in the number of Chinese ships patrolling the waters of the South China, East China, and Yellow Seas, as well as the expansion of China's field airfields and military fortifications on the disputed Spratly and Paracel Islands [22].

The expansion of China's military presence in the Asia-Pacific region is also achieved by gaining access to Asian airports, runways, seaports, etc. Formally remaining committed to the foreign policy principle of refusing to deploy military bases on the territory of other states, Beijing, however, is implementing a strategy to build up the strongholds of its Navy and Air Force in the region. By providing economic and technical assistance to some countries in the construction and modernization of ports, airports, naval, air and radar bases, Beijing in some cases gets the opportunity to use them.

The so-called "String of Pearls" strategy is widely known, which consists in deploying-

* The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) holds an annual Asian security summit, also known as the Shangri-la Dialogue. It is attended by defense ministers, representatives of other government structures and leading experts from all countries of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as a number of European states (editor's note).

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a network of Chinese strongholds from the Chinese island of Hainan to the Pakistani port of Gwadar in the Indian Ocean. Nit includes ports in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, the Seychelles, and Pakistan. In particular, China has participated in the construction of Myanmar's naval bases on Hiangik Island and the Greater Cocos Islands, as well as in the modernization of the Mergui naval Base and the runways of Mandalay and Pegu airports. In the Greater Cocos Islands, the Chinese were given the opportunity to deploy an electronic tracking radar system, which, among other things, allows them to monitor sea maneuvers and the passage of ships through the Strait of Malacca [24]. China has assisted Bangladesh in the reconstruction of the Chittagong port (in particular, in the construction of a container transportation terminal) [25], and is currently working on participation in the construction of a deep-water port on Sonadia Island.

For the United States, as a country that is not geographically located in East Asia, the task of gaining access to Asian military bases is of fundamental importance. At the same time, in the last decade, the US military strategy has gradually abandoned the practice of unilateral reliance on the maintenance of expensive large permanent military bases abroad that took place during the Cold War. The emphasis in expanding the military presence is now placed on the so-called flexible basing, which implies the presence of a limited American military contingent dispersed throughout the Asia-Pacific region on a rotational basis, as well as the periodic use of military bases of foreign countries for conducting separate military (or rescue) operations and exercises.

Now the United States has permanent military bases in Japan and South Korea, has a significant military contingent on the islands of Guam and Hawaii, and has access to the Thai Utapao Air Base, Singapore's Paya Lebar Air Force Base, Changi Navy Base, and Sembawan Port. In November 2011, an agreement was reached between the United States and Australia to deploy US Marines to Darwin in northern Australia and to expand the use of US naval and air bases in Australia (Tyndall Air Force Base and Stirling Air Force Base). In compliance with this agreement, 200 US Marines arrived in Darwin, Australia, in April 2012. In 2014, their number will increase to 1,150 people, and by 2016 - up to 2,500.

No less important is the agreement to deploy four US coastal warships at the Changi Naval Base in Singapore, as well as the 10-year agreement signed with Manila in April 2014, which provides for the expansion of the US military presence in the Philippines and, in particular, the deployment of American reconnaissance aircraft and warships there.

In addition to expanding the presence of the US and Chinese armed forces in the Asia-Pacific region, one of the manifestations of US-Chinese rivalry was the increase in the frequency and scope of military exercises held in the region. Thus, the United States has intensified joint military maneuvers with a wide range of countries in the region and, in particular, with Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia. In early December 2010, the United States and Japan conducted the largest joint exercise in the history of bilateral relations. The eight-day joint maneuvers were attended by 34 thousand Japanese and 10 thousand American military personnel, 400 aircraft and 60 military vessels, including B-52 strategic bombers and the aircraft carrier George Washington [26]. In August 2010, the first joint exercises of the two countries ' navies in the history of US-Vietnam relations took place.

During 2012 alone, the United States conducted a series of joint exercises in the Western Pacific Ocean under 17 code names. And in 2013, only for the period from May to August, 7 joint exercises were conducted in East Asia with a total duration of 64 days. Even in the face of a reduced defense budget, the US administration is not considering reducing US activity in this area. On the contrary, a plan has been developed to expand the scale of joint exercises in Asia, for which the Pentagon has allocated funds in the amount of $100 million [27].

The number of visits by US warships to ports in the Asia-Pacific region has also increased significantly. The geography is very wide: Philippines, Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam. The intensity of US port visits to the Philippines has reached an unprecedented level since the closure of the US Naval base Subicbay* in 1992.

According to some sources, at least 200 visits of American destroyers, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines to Philippine ports took place in 2012 [28]. The frequency of American ships entering Australian ports is very high. In just three months, from July to September 2013, at least 18 visits were made [29]. Washington managed to reach an agreement with Hanoi on port visits by American warships (although a limit was set - one port visit per year).

Subic Bay is a bay in the Luzon Sea off the coast of Luzon Island in the Philippines, 100 km northwest of Manila. From 1898 to 1992, Subic Bay was the site of an American naval base. ed.).

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In August 2011, an event that aroused great interest in the world community took place - a ship of the US Naval Maritime Transport Command visited the Vietnamese naval base Cam Ranh for the first time in the previous 38 years.

The scale of China's participation in joint military exercises in the Asia-Pacific region is still not comparable to the US, since the Chinese army began conducting exercises with foreign partners only in 2002. But already in 2013, there was a sharp intensification of this area of defense cooperation between Beijing and neighboring countries.

China's partners in conducting joint military maneuvers in the region are currently Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Mongolia. Although the vast majority of joint maneuvers are conducted on land, the PLA is gradually accumulating experience in interacting with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and at sea. So, three times already - in 2012, 2013 and 2014 - the Sino-Russian naval exercises "Sea Interaction" were held, and joint maneuvers at sea with Australia and Thailand took place [30].

The scope, intensity and complexity of the operational tasks performed during China's naval exercises have increased so much that they have become a cause for concern both among East Asian states and from Washington. The Pentagon's close attention was drawn to the Chinese naval exercises held in the summer of 2012, which became the largest naval exercise outside the "first island chain" with access to the Pacific Ocean [31]. The increased ability of the Chinese navy to cross the "first island chain" and reach the Pacific Ocean without hindrance was demonstrated in July 2013, when Chinese ships sailed through the La Perouse Strait located between the islands of Sakhalin and Hokkaido for the first time in history.

Washington is concerned not only about the growing operational capabilities of the Chinese Navy, but also about changing approaches to operations at sea. Thus, since 2012, China, in violation of the principle of a complete ban on navigation of foreign warships in the exclusive economic zone of a coastal state [32], has been conducting military maneuvers within the exclusive economic zone of the United States, namely in the areas of the islands of Guam and Hawaii [33]. As stated in a comment by senior PLA Colonel Zhou Bo in June 2013, such maneuvers are a response to the ongoing US Navy intelligence operations in the exclusive economic zone of China [34].

The measures taken by China to strengthen its naval forces and build up its military presence in the waters of the seas of East Asia and the Pacific Ocean are based on the desire to realize two important tasks: to become a strong maritime power and protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state.

The relevance of the second task has increased in the last few years, when a real battle over freedom of navigation in the South China Sea has flared up in the region, and territorial disputes over the Paracel, Spratly and Diaoyu Islands, which have been smoldering for a decade since the late 1990s, have flared up again. Two factors contributed to the surge in tension: China's increasing assertiveness in asserting its rights to these disputed territories and waters, dating back to 2007-2008, and Washington's position on these issues that has changed from distancing to active mediation since mid-2010.

Washington's intervention in the existing territorial disputes between China and the ASEAN Group of countries in the South China Sea and between China and Japan in the East China Sea has proved to be an effective method of implementing the American policy of "return to Asia". Washington managed to find a "weak spot" in the Chinese strategy of "economic gingerbread" and "smiles" in relation to the Asia-Pacific countries.

By exploiting the territorial differences that exist between China and these countries, the United States is solving a whole range of tasks: strengthening relations with the Philippines, Vietnam, and Japan involved in these disputes, expanding the field of interaction with ASEAN, and curbing China's growing regional influence by discrediting Beijing. Due to the aggravation of territorial contradictions, some damage has been done to the positive image of China, which it has so carefully built up with the help of a policy of "soft power". In a number of East Asian countries, a reassessment of approaches to developing military-political relations with Washington was undertaken in favor of overcoming individual contradictions and establishing closer cooperation with the United States, which can act as a counterweight to the growing China.

Playing on the existing territorial contradictions between Asian countries, or, as the authoritative expert of the Chinese Institute of International Studies Liu Feitao called it," advanced diplomacy " [35] of the United States, led to a tightening of the positions of the parties disputing the ownership of islands and water areas. As a result, since 2011, the number of various incidents of confrontation between sea vessels of various East Asian states in the waters of the South and East China Seas has significantly increased.

The concern of the countries of the region for their security has led to an increase in their expenses.-

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dov on defense. Not only the United States and China are now engaged in the rapid strengthening of their armed forces, but also a number of countries, and especially those that are involved in territorial disputes.

So, despite the rather difficult economic situation, the Philippines has begun to modernize its armed forces, with an emphasis on the navy, which remains one of the most backward in the region. In particular, in 2011 and 2013, the Philippines received from the United States two Hamilton-class patrol ships decommissioned by the US Coast Guard (ships Gregorio del Pilar and Ramon Alcaraz). In 2013, Philippine President B. Aquino approved a $1.82 billion 5-year aircraft modernization program.

The sharp perception of the current security situation in the region is evidenced by Tokyo's decision to increase the defense budget for 2013 by $1.15 billion, which was the first time this country has increased defense spending in the previous 11 years [36]. Moreover, Japan's defense budget for 2014 was increased by another 2.8% from 2013 [37].

An analysis of SIPRI data * shows that the average annual defense spending of the Asia-Pacific countries for two three - year periods - 2007-2009 and 2010-2012 - increased as follows: in Indonesia and China-by 33 and 32%, respectively, in Vietnam and Mongolia-by 22 and 21%, in India South Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines-by 8.7, 7.5, and 5%, respectively [38].

In general, it can be concluded that the military-political rivalry between the United States and China in the Asia-Pacific region, which has been clearly manifested since 2009, leads to an increase in regional tensions. The Asia-Pacific region, which has managed to maintain a relatively stable security situation over the past three decades, has become a region of concentration of several hotbeds of tension at once, each of which is now in the stage of aggravation.

Meanwhile, building the most likely scenario for the development of US-Chinese rivalry for influence in the Asia-Pacific region in the medium and long term, the following main points can be identified. On the economic plane, it is quite difficult for Washington to compete with China in the Asia-Pacific region: trade and economic ties between the countries of the region and China are already too close. Today, China is the engine of economic growth and development in the region, and the APR countries are very interested in developing trade and economic contacts with China.

The absence of the American president from the APEC leaders ' meeting and the East Asia Summit in October 2013 once again highlighted the contrast between Washington's fickle attention to the region since the end of the Cold War and Beijing's steady interest in developing diverse contacts with the Asia-Pacific countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang not only attended these summits, but also put forward a number of important initiatives in the field of trade and infrastructure development in the region. In particular, Xi Jinping proposed the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and also outlined the intention to increase trade turnover with ASEAN from the current level by $400 billion, so that by 2020 it will reach the level of $1 trillion [39]. Moreover, Xi Jinping's speeches to the parliaments of Thailand and Indonesia were unprecedented, during which, in particular, Beijing presented the strategic concept of the China-ASEAN Community of Common Destiny and the project to create a Maritime Silk Road of the XXI century [40].

There is every reason to assume that Washington will continue to implement the policy of "returning to Asia" based on its traditional path-building up its military and political presence, and support it with a line aimed at discrediting China among Asian states. The so-called hedge policy pursued by the United States in the Asia-Pacific region, or the" policy of hedging " Beijing's influence in the region by forming a block of countries with allied relations with the United States along the borders of the PRC, may lead to an increase in tension in the Asia-Pacific region.

1. See: Deitch T. L. Africa in China's Strategy. M, 2008 (Deich T. L. 2008. Afrika v strategii Kitaya. M., (in Russian); Leksyutina Ya. V. China: an active player in the expanses of Latin America / / Latin America. 2012. N 8, с. 22 - 36 (Leksyutina Ya.V. 2012. Kitay: aktivnyi igrok v Latinskoi Amerike // Latin America. No. 8) (in Russian); Leksyutina Ya.V. Competing Expansion of the USA and China in Tropical Africa // Political Expertise: Politex. 2011. Т. 7, N 4, с. 110 - 126. (Leksyutina Ya.V. 2011. Konkuriruyushchaya ekspansiya SSHA i Kitaya v Tropicheskoy Afrike // Politicheskaya ekspertiza: Politeks. Vol. 11, N 4) (in Russian)

2. Clinton H. America's Pacific Century. 10.11.2011 - secretary/rm/2011/11/176999.htm

3. Ibidem.

4. U.S. -China Joint Statement, 19.01.2011 -

* Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) - an international institute that has been specializing in peace and armed conflict research for more than 40 years, as well as in the analysis of arms control and disarmament issues. Publishes yearbooks (IMEMO RAS translates them into Russian), which are highly respected among military experts (editor's note).

page 9

5. Masakiro Kawai, Ganeshan Wignaraja. Addressing the challenges of Asian FTAs // East Asia Forum, 10.06.2013 - addressing-policy-ehallenges-of-asian-ftas/

6. Kurtenbach E. APEC nations pledge support for TPP // China Post, 15.11.2011 - business/global-markets/2011/11/15/322959/APEC-nations.htm

7. Data on population size and GDP for 2012 are presented. Calculated from: World development indicators database, World Bank - http://databank.worldbank. org/data/

8. Joint declaration on the launch of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. 20.11.2012 - 2-Trade-Relation ships-and-Agreements/RCEP/joint-dec.php

9. Calculated by: World development indicators database, World Bank...

10. Ibid.

11. Ibid.

12. Rogov S. M. The Obama Doctrine. The Lord of the Two Rings / / RIAC. 30.04.2013 -

13. For more information on the development of American-Filipino relations under Barack Obama, see: Tsvetkov I. A. Strengthening the American-Filipino and American-Australian Unions / / US policy in the Asia-Pacific region during the Obama Administration / Edited by B. A. Shiryaev, I. A. Tsvetkov, and Ya. V. Leksyutina. St. Petersburg, SPbU Publ., 2012, pp. 177-218.

14. Mamonov M. Whether the war between America and China is possible / / International Processes, Vol. 10, No. 2 (29). May-August 2012 -

15. Panetta L. Speech delivered at the Shangri-La Security Dialogue. 2.06.2012 - speech.aspx?speechid=1681

16. O'Rourke R. China naval modernization: implications for U.S. navy capabilities - background and issues for Congress. CRS report for Congress. 5.06.2014, p. 43.

17. Keck Z. U.S. Chief of naval operations: 11 littoral combat ships to Asia by 2022 // The Diplomat, 17.05.2013 - combat-ships-to-asia-by-2022/

18. So, on March 1, 2013, the US Department of Defense's spending was cut overnight by $37 billion, or 8% in that fiscal year.

19. Remarks by Secretary Hagel at the IISS Asia Security Summit, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore. 1.06.2013 d=5251

20. Defense expenditures in the Chinese budget will increase by 12.2% in 2014 / / People's Daily Online, 05.03.2014 -

21. Military and security developments involving the People's Republic of China 2014, p. 7 - pubs/2014_DoD_China_Report.pdf

22. См. например: Philippines calls for construction freeze in South China Sea // Reuters, 16.06.2014 - http://www.reuters. com/article/2014/06/16/us-philippines-southchinasea-idUSKBN0ER0LE20140616; China builds more Spratly outposts // PhilStar, 24.05.2011 - headlines/688856/china-builds-more-spratly-outposts

23. Kaplan D. Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the future of American power. N.Y.: Random House Publishing Group, 2011, p. 10 - 11.

24. Lebedeva N. B. Bolshoy Indisky okean i kitayskaya strategiya "nit zhemchuzhuga" [The Great Indian Ocean and the Chinese strategy "thread of pearls"]. 2011, N 9, с. 9. (Lebedeva N.B. 2011. Bolshoi Indiyskiy okean I kitayskaya strategiya "nit zhemchuga" // Azia i Afrika segodnya. N 9) (in Russian)

25. Although Beijing and Dhaka insist on China's exclusive commercial use of the port, the PLA Navy's floating Ark Hospital has already visited it twice, in 2010 and in August 2013.

26. Annual review: relations within the Asia-Pacific Region are becoming more complicated due to the acceleration of the" return to Asia " of the United States - Head of the Asia-Pacific Bureau of the Xinhua News Agency / / People's Daily online, 28.12.2010 - http://russian.people.

27. Remarks by Secretary Hagel...

28. Oliveros B. Too many questions surrounding US Navy ships' port calls. 8.02.2013 - 2013/02/08/too-many-questions-surrounding-us-navy-ships-port-calls/

29. Calculated from: Commander naval surface force, U.S. Pacific fleet - Pages/home. aspx

30. According to the Pentagon, China also conducted joint naval exercises (search and rescue) with Vietnam in 2011 and 2012. See: Military and security developments.., p. 73.

31. Statement of Admiral Samuel J.Locklear, U.S. Navy Commander, U.S. Pacific Command before House Armed Forces Committee on U.S. Pacific Command posture, p. 7. 5.03.2013 -

32. In particular, Beijing has systematically protested the appearance of US surveillance vessels within China's exclusive economic zone, accusing Washington of violating international and Chinese national laws on the law of the sea.

33. Military and security developments.., p. 39.

34. Ten Kate D. China spurns arbitration as U.S. joins Japan on sea stance // Bloomberg, 3.06.2013 - com/news/2013 - 06 - 02/china-spurns-sea-claim-arbitration-pushed-by-u-s-and-allies.html

35. Liu Feitao. Obama's rebalancing to the Asia Pacific. 4.09.2013 - - 09/04/con-tent_6272923.htm

36. Defense of Japan 2013, p. 1 - http://www.mod.go. jp/e/publ/w_paper/pdf/2013/28_Part2_Chapter2_Sec4.pdf

37. Liu Yunlong. Japan increases military expansion for next year // Global Times, 26.12.2013 - content/834200.shtml

38. SIPRI Military Expenditure Database

39. Phuong Nguyen. China's Charm Offensive Signals a New Strategic Era in Southeast Asia. 17.10.2013

40.In doing so, China announced the launch of two new integration processes at once: to join forces and create a "Great Silk Road economic belt", making the economic ties between Euro-Asian countries closer.

The strategic concept of the China-ASEAN Community of Common Destiny is based on the following three points: "adhere to the principle of trust and strive for good neighborliness; adhere to the principle of" living soul to soul"; adhere to the principle of openness and tolerance."

China has previously pursued an active foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region, while following the precept of Deng Xiaoping - " avoid sunlight, hide intentions in the shadows." Does this mean that the current generation of Chinese leaders has somewhat rethought and moved away from the previous strategy of the reformist father? (Editor's note).


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