Across the Indo-Pacific, the US and its allies face rapidly evolving security challenges. China is determined to field a “world-class military” by 2049 and seeks to use both hard and soft power to coerce America’s friends, intimidate its partners, and push the US from the region. North Korea continues to test missiles, build nuclear weapons, and issue bombastic threats against Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington. Russia also periodically seeks to remind the US and its allies that it, too, is a Pacific power. It regularly sends strategic bombers and fighter aircraft into US, Japanese, and South Korean air defense identification zones and airspace and has started conducting joint “naval patrols” (to include one recently circumnavigating Japan) with China. Moreover, its unjustified and unprovoked war on Ukraine casts a pall extending well beyond Europe. Defiant of international law and increasingly prepared to bluster, bully, and coerce any actor — state or non-state — that seeks to oppose them within the region, these governments pose serious threats to US and allied efforts to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.
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