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OPINION                                                                  JUNE 24, 2022  |    The Indian Eye 10

          A Cause of Anxiety in the Region:

           China’s Response to Indo-Pacific

                                 Economic Framework

            Anxious about the threat posed by IPEF to China’s regional economic clout, Chinese leaders and
              analysts have called for enhancing regional economic cooperation. Beijing’s pushback against

              Washington’s IPEF strategy is likely to result in an intense zero-sum geo-economic competition

        MAYURI BANERJEE                   tend that the economic pact, if   na-led cooperative mechanisms like   icy experts opine that China is better
                                          implemented, is  unlikely to  imme-  Regional Comprehensive Economic   integrated  with the region  than the
              he  Indo-Pacific  Economic   diately affect Chinese economic   Programme  (RCEP)  and  Belt  and   US. For instance, many South East
              Framework  (IPEF),  launched   interests. Highlighting existing Chi-  Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese pol-  Asian industries are dependent on
        Tin  Tokyo  on  23  May  2022,  is                                                                    China for raw materials which are
        being  touted  by  the  US  as  a  mech-                                                              processed for export to the US or
        anism  to  counter  China’s  regional                                                                 European Union (EU).
        economic influence. The four policy                                                                       Further,  China’s  economic  co-
        pillars of the initiative include digi-                                                               operation with the region is also
        tal trade, building of resilient supply                                                               deepening. Besides trade with RCEP
        chains,  fulfilment  of  clean  energy                                                                countries,  China’s  trade  with  ASE-
        commitments and implementation of                                                                     AN bloc totalled US$ 212 billion in
        fair-trade rules with effective taxation                                                              the first quarter of 2022. Due to Chi-
        and elimination of corruption.                                                                        na’s  large  domestic  market,  South
            Reports cite US officials as stat-                                                                Korea  and  Japan  could  also  be  in-
        ing that the initiative will present the                                                              clined to strengthen economic coop-
        Indo-Pacific countries “an alternative                                                                eration with Beijing under RCEP.
        to China’s approach and strengthen                                                                        As regards possibility of China’s
        political and economic ties with part-                                                                economic isolation from the regional
        ner countries”. China has responded                                                                   economic framework, analysts assert
        strongly to the initiative, calling it an                                                             that  China  cannot  be  ignored  due
        ‘economic NATO’ aimed at stoking                                                                      to  its  economic  influence.  Chinese
        regional divisions. Beijing has also                                                                  Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in a press
        moved rapidly to initiate count-                                                                      briefing on 22 May, claimed that Chi-
        er-moves against the IPEF.                     Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, and    na has emerged as the largest trading
                                              Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for   partner of most of the countries in
            BETTER INTEGRATION                  Prosperity (IPEF) event, in Tokyo recently . (ANI Photo/Narendra Modi Twitter)  the region and those trying to isolate
            Chinese  analyses  of  IPEF  con-                                                                        Continued at next page... >>

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