01/15/2021

2018 U.S. Pacific Strategy Document has been declassified

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Declassification of a secret document reveals US strategy in the Indo-Pacific

The US government has just declassified one of its most sensitive national security documents – its 2018 Indo-Pacific Strategic Framework, which was formally classified as SECRET and not for release to foreign nationals.

The full text, minus a few small redactions, was released late on January 12 (US East Coast Time), having originally been cleared for publication on January 5, ahead of the upheaval in Washington. .
The publication of this document will be rightly overshadowed in the news cycle by the fallout from the shameful internal attack on the US Capitol, but for observers interested in the future security of the world beyond US shores, will be of long-term interest and deserve a careful reading.

Long before historians can debate the Trump administration’s legacy in this vital region, this highly unusual step of rapid declassification – the text wasn’t due to be published until 2043 – brings authoritative clarity to the public record.

Despite the fact that it was developed several years ago, its provisions are absolutely relevant.

The strategy outlines ways to counter Beijing’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region, plans to counter an increasingly belligerent North Korea, and the importance of strengthening India as a military counterweight to China.

“Pacific Strategy 2018” USA. China.

China is seen by the United States as the main adversary in the region.

According to the document, Beijing will circumvent international rules and regulations to gain an advantage.

The proliferation of digital surveillance, information control and influence operations in China will undermine US efforts to promote “American national values ​​and interests in the Indo-Pacific, the Western Hemisphere and at home.”

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A broader defense strategy to contain China includes:

  • – Denying China stable air and sea supremacy within the “first island chain”,
  • – Defend the countries of the first island chain, including Taiwan;
  • – Exercise dominance in all areas outside the first chain of islands.The first chain of islands belongs to the great archipelagos closest to East Asia, from Kamchatka to the Malay Archipelago, and includes Japan, Taiwan and the northern Philippines.China claims most of the region’s water area.


“Pacific Strategy 2018” USA. North Korea.

The document notes that “North Korea’s nuclear missiles and their stated intention to subjugate South Korea pose a serious threat to the United States and our allies.”

As an element to deter Pyongyang, it was recommended to assist South Korea and Japan in the acquisition of “advanced conventional weapons”, as well as to bring Seoul and Tokyo closer together.

It aims to convince the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that the only way to “survive” is to renounce nuclear weapons, and various instruments are pointed out as means to achieve this goal, including the use of pressure by economic, diplomatic, military means. , police, intelligence and information.

Negotiations are seen as an option if North Korea takes steps to reverse its nuclear and missile programs.


“Pacific Strategy 2018” USA. India.

The United States views India as a vital strategic partner.

Objective: Strategic alignment with allies and partners in the region, including the desire to “create a quadripartite security architecture with India, Japan, Australia and the United States as major centers of power.”

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India is identified as a key regional partner and a potential instrument for neutralizing Beijing’s power and influence. “A strong India in cooperation with like-minded countries will act as a counterweight to China,” the document says.

The complete document can be read on the White House website