Foundation For Defense Of Democracies Expert: China’s Aggressive Behavior Driving Pacific Allies Closer

The increasingly aggressive behavior of the People’s Republic of China is the primary reason behind the strengthening cooperation among the United States, Australia, Japan and the Philippines, according to Bradley Bowman, senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“I think Japan, Australia and the Philippines understand that investments in deterrence are far less costly than dealing with a war that could have been prevented, and they understand that deterrence will be much stronger and more effective if they work with the United States and they work with each other,” Bowman told the Voice of America news outlet.

The defense chiefs of the four nations gathered in Hawaii on Thursday for their second joint meeting, focusing on strengthening cooperation and addressing concerns about China’s operations in the South China Sea. The meeting followed the four nations’ first joint naval exercises in the disputed waterway last month.

Tensions have escalated between the Philippines and China over the resource-rich region, with China employing collision and ramming tactics, deploying undersea barriers and utilizing military-grade lasers to hinder Philippine resupply and patrol missions. China has expressed its intention to assert control over access to the South China Sea and bring Taiwan under its authority, even by force if necessary.