14:47 GMT +319 January 2018
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    Trump's Team to Keep Working on 'Containing China' in Asia Pacific

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    Donald Trump's victory has cast America's foreign policy into uncharted waters. However, Washington is likely to continue its efforts aimed at counterbalancing China's influence in the Asia Pacific by forging close ties with countries wary of Beijing and by building up its military muscle in the region, analyst Dmitry Mosyakov told RIA Novosti.

    Mosyakov, who heads the Center for Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, maintained that Washington will not abandon its longstanding policy towards China.

    "I think that Washington will continue its efforts meant to contain China by creating a barrier out of Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam, with the United States controlling this process," he said.

    US leadership will adhere to this strategy despite changes that have taken place in the Philippines and Vietnam, he added. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte recently said that Manila will remain a Washington ally, but is determined to deepen its ties with China.

    Mosyakov also linked America's policy in the Asia Pacific with its stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a controversial agreement aimed at deepening economic ties among Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States.

    "If the US is determined to keep trying to create a brand new free-trade zone which would largely be under Washington's control, then we could say that America's policy in the region will focus on using all available tools to form the Trans-Pacific Partnership and create a major counterweight to the comprehensive regional cooperation advocated by Beijing," the analyst observed.

    US president-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the TPP and other international trade deals as damaging to the US economy. The first point of his plan aimed at reviving the American economy stated that the country will "withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has not yet been ratified."

    However, some experts have said that pre-election rhetoric does not necessarily mean that Trump will deliver on this promise and the US Congress will not eventually pass the agreement.

    Mosyakov further said that Washington will continue to build up its military presence in the region.

    Trump has not provided a detailed vision of what America's foreign policy in Asia should be, but he has advocated a tough stance on Beijing when it came to trade. As part of his election promises, the US president-elect pledged to instruct the US Secretary of the Treasury to label China as a "currency manipulator." He also blamed the country for stealing American jobs.

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    Tags:
    military buildup, free trade, US-China relations, US foreign policy, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Donald Trump, Asia-Pacific, China, United States
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