From: National Security Advisor Andrew Ko
Subject: Address concerning about the “Ambiguity Policy” in East Asia Date: 22nd October 2012
Regional stability in East Asia is the key to maintain US’s national interests. The US seeks to prevent any power to dominate Asia in order to ensure our free trade with Asian countries, navy ruling over the Pacific and continuing influence in the region. However, the rise of China and recent territorial disputes over South China Sea and Diaoyu Island pose great challenges to this goal. This policy memo points out a problem in the existing foreign policy that the US’s ambiguous position in East Asia would be adversarial in maintaining its own national interests. A clearer positioning of the US in East Asia is necessary. While active military engagement and subtle engagement are not feasible, the position as a mediator fostering regional cooperation and mutual trust is the only available option left.
Background and Foreign Policy Problem
President Obama has adopted the policy of “ambiguity” in East Asia: being vague to prevent aggressive actions from other East Asian countries, while being firm to prevent an aggressive China but concurrently adopting deferential policies towards China. (Gordon, 2012) In fact, this policy does not help maintain regional stability nor out national interest. First of all, East Asian countries may take side with China if they are unsure of the consistent support from the US. As China continues to grow economically and militarily, they may realize that standing up to it will not be possible. (Walt, 2012) Secondly, our ambiguity could intensify the arms race in the region. If Japan and Korea are uncertain about our consistent support towards them, they will have to resort to further military upgrades in order to protect themselves. Thirdly, US’s ambiguous policy towards China creates more strategic mistrust between China and the US. While we draw China...