Asian Insider

Indo-Pacific countries balance democratic unity against economic interests with China

Japan's Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi (left) and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi attend a video conference with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, in Tokyo, on June 9, 2021.
Japan's Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi (left) and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi attend a video conference with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, in Tokyo, on June 9, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO/SYDNEY/NEW DELHI/SEOUL - Unlike the Cold War of the 1980s, the modern-day "democracy versus autocracy" ideological battle is not as clear-cut, given how inexorably linked democracies in the Indo-Pacific are with China on trade.

This is despite a push for greater democratic unity in the region to counter China's growing assertiveness, especially over Taiwan. The island - alongside human rights concerns - was written into the Group of Seven (G-7) communique last week, after similar language was seen in Japan's summits with the United States and the European Union.

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