China's military rise poses the greatest foreign policy challenge to the next US President

October 30, 2020 at 01:27

Analysts say the current state of play doesn't leave much room for either the Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, or President Donald Trump to pull back from supporting Taiwan.
The US military has been vocal and visible in its efforts to challenge Beijing's claims to the South China Sea.
Aircraft from the carriers USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan operate over the South China Sea earlier this year.
Earlier this year, the US Navy twice sailed two of its massive aircraft carriers into the South China Sea at the same time.
"The US is likely to continue its military exercises and freedom of navigation patrols in the South China Sea.
Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command's Joint Intelligence Center, said Biden's campaign hasn't given a clear indication of where it will go on the South China Sea.
South China Sea countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines judged Obama's policies in the region as "all talk backed by little to no substantive action," he said.
Two key alliesThe current Trump administration has had somewhat of a rocky road in dealing with US military allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific.
Relations with Japan have been better, and Tokyo announced an 8.3% increase in its military budget, something analysts attributed in part to pressure from the Trump administration.
In South Korea, Schuster said, President Moon Jae-in wants to reduce defense costs while trying to improve relations with North Korea.
Suga has visited Vietnam and Indonesia in the past few weeks, seeking improved military as well as economic relations with those countries with claims in the South China Sea.
Either Trump or Biden will be challenged to keep Asia at the forefront of defense planning.
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