US-China competition in Indo-Pacific a ‘marathon, not a sprint’, acting assistant secretary of defence says

US-China competition in Indo-Pacific a ‘marathon, not a sprint’, acting assistant secretary of defence says

  • Head of Washington’s regional strategy David Helvey calls on ‘like-minded partners’ to defend international order
  • Conflict ‘not inevitable’ but countries cannot sit ‘idly by’ while Beijing bends and disregards rules

Washington needs long-term strategies and “like-minded partners” to compete with Beijing in a “marathon” race to lead the international order, according to a senior US defence official.

David Helvey, acting assistant secretary of defence for Indo-Pacific security affairs, said the Chinese Communist Party’s challenge to the international rules-based order would be a marathon, not a sprint, in an exclusive opinion article for the South China Morning Post to be published on Saturday.

“Together, we must be resilient as we face this long-term challenge by continuing to uphold and represent core principles such as respect of sovereignty, transparency, peaceful resolution of disputes, and freedom of navigation and overflight.”

Helvey is in charge of the Trump administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy – a concept which has become a cornerstone of the United States’ Asia policy. It extends the Asia-Pacific region from South Asia to the Pacific coast of the US and is seen by Beijing as an effort to rally regional powers like India and Japan against China’s rise in the region.