The national security interests and objectives of the United States in Asia

The two main objectives of the United States in Asia are the economic benefits from trade opportunities and to defend itself from a security threat in Asia. The United States is interested in the economic opportunities provided from the large Asian market. The U.S has been a trading partner of Asia since World War II. Japan and South Korea are the most important trading partners and allies of the US in Asia.  The United States is committed to a strong trade relationship with Taiwan and also provides defence for Taiwan against possible threat by China. The most important objective of the United States in Asia is national security. North Korea is an obvious threat as it is developing nuclear arms, but North Korea is an economically powerless nation. Chinese economy is growing very rapidly and it will grow continue. The real threat to the United States is China because it is a communist state and it exerts a strong influence over North Korea and is competing with the United States for power in Asia.

 One of the main objectives of the United States in Asia is the economic opportunity of the Asian market. The United States and Asia pacific region have a mutual interest in developing trading relationships because the developing countries of Asia have a large labour workforce and the United States has many companies who need cheap labour to produce goods cheaply. An example of this is Apple Macintosh, a California based company, whose products are made in China. There is also a high demand from Asia for US products, such as information technology. According to the World Internet Statistics (2009), 42.4% of the world internet users are in Asia and China is the world biggest internet user. American companies such as Google, Facebook and twitter have made a great profit from this large marketplace. Oreskovic (2010) stated that in 2010 Google profited 600 million from China.

The large population of Asia is a potential new market place that attracts American companies to invest in Asia. According to the Population Preference Bureau (2007) China is the most populated nation with 1,318 million people and India is the second world biggest populated nation with 1,132 million. As there are more people, there are more opportunities for marketing to create more demand, which would increase the export of the United States goods and services to Asia. For example Coca Cola has expanded its business all over Asia. In India from 1993 to 2003 Coca Cola invested one billion in India (Coca Cola India 2003). Coca Cola is the biggest soft drink suppliers in India and the most popular soft drink in India. This shows that American companies are taking advantage of the large Asian marketplace.

The United States has strong trading relationships in the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, the US has a strong trading relationship with China. As the US currency is stronger than the Chinese Yuan, China is profiting greatly from trade (Norris 2009). According to the Office of the United States Trading Representative (2011) the United States goods and services trade with China totalled $433 billion in 2008 and Chinese goods and services imports to the United States totalled $348 billion in 2008. This indicates that there is a strong bilateral trading relationship between the two countries. In the last two decades, the strong growth of the Chinese economy was due to the US demand for Chinese goods. This shows that the United States objective in Asia is to create economic opportunities through trade.

Japan and South Korea have been the main trading partners with the United States since Would War II. South Korea signed a bilateral free trade agreement on June 30, 2007. An example of this free trade agreement is that Korea permits the US companies to own up to 100 percent of a telecommunications operator in South Korea according to the (Office of the United States Trade Representative Executive Office of the President 2011). This means that a US company can freely access the Korean market for investment. The United States benefits economically from free trade agreements in Asia and is therefore promoting free trade agreements in Asia through Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) according to (Diane 2007). The free trade agreement permits investment other countries without any restrictions. This creates an opportunity to invest in a larger market for the US.  Japan is 4th largest trade partner with U.S. According Office of the United States Trade representative Executive Office of the President (2011) In 2009 U.S. good exports to Japan was 51.2 billion and Japan’s goods import to U.S. was 95.9 billion in 2009.  These statistics show that trade is a strong trading relationship between those countries.

National security is the main objective of the United States in Asia. Since the 1945 Pearl Harbour attack on American soil, the United States has realised that the physical separation of the U.S from Asia by the Pacific Ocean is no longer enough protection. Therefore the United States has expanded it allies across the Asia-Pacific region, which now its include South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.

North Korea is an obvious security threat to the United States and it’s allies, in particular South Korea and Japan and surrounding nations. According to Park (2001) North Korea is developing a nuclear and missile program. North Korea exports its missiles to the surrounding region and it is possible it could sell missiles to terrorist organisations. Stone (2004) states there is a suspicion that North Korea’s is developing a nuclear weapons program. The United States alliance with Japan is the most important alliance in Asia to provide security and peace to the region. This is because of Japan’s strategic location that can provide security for South Korea. The United States has an army base in Japan, which was established to protect Japan and South Korea from an attack by North Korea according (P Mauch [University of Western Sydney] 2011, week 6 lecture, 4 April).

China acts as the big brother for North Korea, because they both are communist states. China is the only country that has a good diplomatic relationship with North Korea.  China has the potential to force Kim Jong Il to give up its nuclear weapon program and engage with the international community. But China is reluctant to take any action against North Korea. The expectation that China will take action against North Korea is not a realistic view, because China is investing economically in North Korea. According to Kim (2006) Chinese investment in North Korea was 1.12 million in 2003 and it increased to 14.13 million in 2004. This shows that China is not willing to fully cooperate with the United States on the North Korea issue and instead is investing heavily in North Korea. North Korea is the obvious threat to the United States and its allies in the region, but the fundamental security threat to the United States allies is China.

As well as the tension over North Korea, the US and China oppose each over the security of Taiwan. The United States is committed to protect Taiwan’s security if Beijing uses force to occupy Taiwan. Beijing considers Taiwan as a part of its territory but Taiwan claims it is a semi-independent state. There are two main reasons the United States has alliance with Taiwan. The United States alliance crosses the Asia-Pacific region from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Philippine, Australia and New Zealand. If United State gave up its alliance with Taiwan then there would be a geographical gap in the U.S. Alliance across the Asia-Pacific between the Philippines and Japan. That would threaten the U.S security if an attack from Asia occurred.  Another reason for the alliance between the U.S. and Taiwan is that creates an opportunity for the U.S. to trade defence machinery. For example, in 2010 the U.S. sold 18 Billion worth defence package to Taiwan when Chen Shui-bian was president, (Boese 2006).

China is also a national security threat to the US because of its increasing power in Asia and development of trading relationship with other Asian countries. The rising power of Chinese might challenge the United State’s stronghold in Asia. China is increasing its efforts to influence its power in the Association of South East Asia Nation (ASEAN). Diane (2007) stated China is actively engaging with ASEAN members and trying to influence it’s power over ASEAN countries. In 2008 China gave Sri Lanka $1.3 billion of aid and six F7 jet fighters as a gift and in 2007 the Sri Lanka army received $50 million from China according (Blair 2009). China is also increasing its diplomatic ties with East Timor. In 2006, hundred of Chinese troops were deployed in East Timor (Murdoch 2010).  China has also good trading relationships with Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam and though trading relationships China is trying to promote its power to the region (Diane 2007).

China is indirectly competing with America for power in Asia. This is evident in the relationship between Australia and China. Australia has strong trading relationship with China. In 2008 after the financial crisis, the rest of the world went into a deep recession, but Australia avoided the recession and its economy remained strong as a result of Australia’s good trade relationship with China. White (2010) suggested that Australia’s foreign policy might shift closer to Beijing because Washington may not be the future dominant Asian power. White also suggested that in 2020 the Chinese economy might be greater than the United States. If China becomes the world number one economy then that will be the real threat to the United States.

The United States objectives in Asia are broadly economic and national security interests. The economic interests are based on trade and the large population in Asia, which has a great demand for US goods. The United States most important objective is national security. There is the obvious threat of North Korea, however the real threat to the United States is China because of the Chinese power over North Korea and increasing regional influence. In order to secure this region, Japan is the strategic core ally for the United States in the Asia-Pacific region.



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News paper

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