Chapter VIII. Develop Agendas for Cooperative Action with the Other Main Centers of Global
Section C. The Way Ahead - 7. East Asia
East Asia is a region of great opportunities and lingering tensions. Over the past decade,
it has been a source of extraordinary economic dynamism and also of economic
turbulence. Few regional economies have more effectively harnessed the engines of
future prosperity: technology and globalized trade. Yet few regions have had greater
difficulty overcoming the suspicions of the past.
The United States is a Pacific nation, with extensive interests throughout East and
Southeast Asia. The region's stability and prosperity depend on our sustained
engagement: maintaining robust partnerships supported by a forward defense posture
supporting economic integration through expanded trade and investment and promoting
democracy and human rights.
Forging new international initiatives and institutions can assist in the spread of freedom,
prosperity, and regional security. Existing institutions like the APEC forum and the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, can play a vital role.
New arrangements, such as the U.S.-ASEAN Enhanced Partnership, or others that are
focused on problem-solving and action, like the Six-Party Talks and the PSI, can likewise
bring together Asian nations to address common challenges. And Asian nations that
share our values can join us in partnership to strengthen new democracies and promote
democratic reforms throughout the region. This institutional framework, however, must
be built upon a foundation of sound bilateral relations with key states in the region.
With Japan, the United States enjoys the closest relations in a generation. As the world's
two largest economies and aid donors, acting in concert multiplies each of our strengths
and magnifies our combined contributions to global progress. Our shared commitment to
democracy at home offers a sure foundation for cooperation abroad.
With Australia, our alliance is global in scope. From Iraq and Afghanistan to our historic
FTA, we are working jointly to ensure security, prosperity, and expanded liberty.
With the ROK, we share a vision of a prosperous, democratic, and united Korean
peninsula. We also share a commitment to democracy at home and progress abroad and
are translating that common vision into joint action to sustain our alliance into the
National Security Strategy
With Southeast Asia, we celebrate the dynamism of increased economic freedom and
look to further extend political freedom to all the people in the region, including those
suffering under the repressive regime in Burma. In promoting greater economic and
political liberty, we will work closely with our allies and key friends, including
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
China encapsulates Asia's dramatic economic successes, but China's transition remains
incomplete. In one generation, China has gone from poverty and isolation to growing
integration into the international economic system. China once opposed global
institutions; today it is a permanent member of the UNSC and the WTO. As China
becomes a global player, it must act as a responsible stakeholder that fulfills its
obligations and works with the United States and others to advance the international
system that has enabled its success: enforcing the international rules that have helped
China lift itself out of a century of economic deprivation, embracing the economic and
political standards that go along with that system of rules, and contributing to
international stability and security by working with the United States and other major
China's leaders proclaim that they have made a decision to walk the transformative path
of peaceful development. If China keeps this commitment, the United States will
welcome the emergence of a China that is peaceful and prosperous and that cooperates
with us to address common challenges and mutual interests. China can make an
important contribution to global prosperity and ensure its own prosperity for the longer
term if it will rely more on domestic demand and less on global trade imbalances to drive
its economic growth. China shares our exposure to the challenges of globalization and
other transnational concerns. Mutual interests can guide our cooperation on issues such
as terrorism, proliferation, and energy security. We will work to increase our cooperation
to combat disease pandemics and reverse environmental degradation.
The United States encourages China to continue down the road of reform and openness,
because in this way China's leaders can meet the legitimate needs and aspirations of the
Chinese people for liberty, stability, and prosperity. As economic growth continues,
China will face a growing demand from its own people to follow the path of East Asia's
many modern democracies, adding political freedom to economic freedom. Continuing
along this path will contribute to regional and international security.
China's leaders must realize, however, that they cannot stay on this peaceful path while
holding on to old ways of thinking and acting that exacerbate concerns throughout the
region and the world. These old ways include:
· Continuing China's military expansion in a non-transparent way;
· Expanding trade, but acting as if they can somehow "lock up" energy supplies around
the world or seek to direct markets rather than opening them up as if they can
follow a mercantilism borrowed from a discredited era; and
National Security Strategy 41
· Supporting resource-rich countries without regard to the misrule at home or
misbehavior abroad of those regimes.
China and Taiwan must also resolve their differences peacefully, without coercion and
without unilateral action by either China or Taiwan.
Ultimately, China's leaders must see that they cannot let their population increasingly
experience the freedoms to buy, sell, and produce, while denying them the rights to
assemble, speak, and worship. Only by allowing the Chinese people to enjoy these basic
freedoms and universal rights can China honor its own constitution and international
commitments and reach its full potential. Our strategy seeks to encourage China to make
the right strategic choices for its people, while we hedge against other possibilities.
National Security Strategy 42