The dramatic creation of AUKUS has focused attention on the military response to China’s increasing capacity to project force across the Indo-Pacific. The furore it sparked, highlighted by the predictably strong Chinese claims of retaliation, has fixated global attention on hard power and the prospects of a new cold war.
Yet, economic rather than military might poses the gravest threat to the Indo-Pacific island states. President Xi Jinping is aggressively using China’s growing economic power to achieve political aims, and that is proving much easier than physical intervention.
Building resilience to economic coercion in Indo-Pacific island states | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au)