The growing interest of the Indo-Pacific by the great powers

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Between military and diplomatic manoeuvres, Western countries seem to be increasing their presence in our region, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. After New Caledonia, President Macron will go to Vanuatu while the American Secretary of State is due to go to Tonga this week. At the same time, the Chinese and Russian armies also carried out joint maneuvers in the Sea of ​​Japan.

The great maneuvers in the Pacific. Indeed, Western countries spare no effort in the Indo-Pacific when we know the tensions that reign there between China and the United States.

It is probably not for nothing that after his Caledonian stay, Emmanuel Macron will then travel to Vanuatu on Thursday and on Friday to Papua New Guinea, where he will be the first French president to visit non-French Pacific islands. He plans to make « announcements »: « in particular for our soldiers who will come to demonstrate precisely the importance of this territory, its projection in the Indo-Pacific », specifies AFP.

Watch the report of NC la 1ère:

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A projection recently noticed during the French army’s Pégase mission in the Pacific. « The Pégase exercise reflects President Macron’s desire to be more present in the Indo-Pacific zone »indicates the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Stéphane Mille, also passing through the Caillou. « The coincidence of the calendar makes the Pégase 2023 stopover in New Caledonia coincide with the presidential visit », note our colleagues from New Caledonia the 1st. The opportunity to highlight the Indo-Pacific axis in France’s diplomatic and foreign policy. « It’s showing an ability to project in very short time and a consequent device. Show all the more that we are able to radiate in the area » adds the chief of staff of the air force.


A map of the Pégase 23 mission. Focus on the projection in the Indo-Pacific.


Recently, the Air and Space Forces site unveiled impressive images of the joint maneuver of six allied countries called Elephant Walk, the march of the elephants, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, July 19. An international air armada deployed in the Indo-Pacific.

« The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Japan and France all contributed to the 23-aircraft formation, which included fighters, bombers, transports and air tankers »; specifies the site.


A common exercise bringing together six allied countries not so trivial.


In addition, this week, the head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken will return to the Asia-Pacific zone, another sign of the desire of the United States to strengthen its presence there in the face of the influence of China, announced the State Department.

Blinken will travel to the Tonga Islands in the South Pacific on July 26 to inaugurate a new US embassy there, according to a statement. This will be the first visit by a US secretary of state to Tonga, which comes after his trip to Papua New Guinea in May where he signed a security pact giving US forces access to ports and airports in this Pacific country.

« We are not setting up our embassy to counter China, » a senior State Department official told reporters on condition of anonymity. « We want to strengthen our presence there (…) and explore ways to deepen our cooperation » with Tonga, he said, stressing that the US embassy would be far from « the size of that of China ».

The United States has placed the Asia-Pacific zone at the center of its new global strategy in the face of China’s growing influence, and intends to promote a zone there that is « free and open » according to the terminology used by Washington.

US President Joe Biden has been deploying intense diplomatic activity for several months with the leaders of the Asia-Pacific zone, in order to strengthen American alliances, even if he had to give up a trip to Australia and Papua due to domestic political constraints linked to the American debt, which was finally resolved.

Mr. Blinken is then due to travel to Wellington, New Zealand, on July 27, host with Australia of the Women’s World Cup. He will notably attend a match of the United States against the Netherlands. Finally, the Secretary of State will end his tour in Australia, where he will take part in a joint meeting of the heads of diplomacy and defense of the two countries on July 28 and 29 in Brisbane.

The United States and Australia, as well as the United Kingdom, have concluded a strategic alliance called AUKUS which will allow Canberra to have access to nuclear-powered submarines, to the chagrin of Beijing. This will be Mr. Blinken’s 12th trip to the Asia-Pacific region since taking office two years ago, according to the US official.


For their part, China and Russia have organized joint military maneuvers in the Sea of ​​Japan, the Chinese Ministry of Defense announced on Sunday July 16, in a context of tensions with Western countries. They started on July 20 and ended on Sunday.

The two neighboring countries, which share a common desire to counter what they present as American hegemony, have become notoriously closer in the military field since the Russian intervention in Ukraine, which Beijing refuses to condemn.

To strengthen their coordination, China and Russia have organized several exercises between their armies in recent months. The last was therefore held in the Sea of ​​Japan, involving in particular five Chinese warships, including the guided missile destroyer Qiqihar.

The schedule of operations was not disclosed but the ministry said the ships had left the port of Qingdao (east) to join the Russian forces in a « predefined area ». These exercises, in which the Air Force also participated, aim to « maintain the security of strategic maritime routes », specifies the ministry.

Last month, China and Russia carried out a joint military aerial patrol over the seas of Japan and East China, prompting South Korea to deploy fighter jets as a precaution. He It was the sixth such patrol carried out by Beijing and Moscow in the area since 2019.

At the beginning of July, the Chinese Minister of Defense, Li Shangfu, had advocated the strengthening of naval military cooperation with Russia during an interview in Beijing with a senior Russian officer. China and Russia can « make positive contributions to maintaining peace and stability in the world and the region, » said Li Shangfu, who has been under US sanctions since 2018.


A Russian rocket ship takes part in military exercises with China in the Sea of ​​Japan on September 5, 2022.




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