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 21st century.
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 powers.
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
• 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.
IX. Transform America’s National Security Institutions to Meet the Challenges and Opportunities of the 21st Century
A. Summary of National Security Strategy 2002
The major institutions of American national security were designed in a different era to meet different challenges. They must be transformed.
B. Current Context: Successes and Challenges
In the last four years, we have made substantial progress in transforming key national security institutions.
• The establishment of the Department of Homeland Security brought under one authority 22 federal entities with vital roles to play in protecting our Nation and preventing terrorist attacks within the United States. The Department is focused on three national security priorities: preventing terrorist attacks within the United States; reducing America’s vulnerability to terrorism; and minimizing the damage and facilitating the recovery from attacks that do occur.