Joint statement of Southeast Asian Left: Condemn and resist US imperialism’s latest belligerent moves in the Asia-Pacific region

President Joe Biden has just concluded his first official visit to Asia seeking to secure and advance the United States’ core strategic interests in this vital area of the world. The recent trip of America’s top leader to South Korea and Japan is essentially part of the urgent mission to recover US imperialism’s waning global hegemony. The central aim of US foreign policy for this region is to regain Washington’s strategic balance through a direct competition with the Eurasian alliance between China and Russia. Moreover, this is centrally framed upon a redesigned regional plan encompassing economic treaties and security-oriented structures and processes that aspire to hegemonic sway in the Asia-Pacific region.

This regional plan comes amid the grave multiple crises of the imperialist world system. The conjunctural crises of international capital is pushing the US toward a more aggressive path on the world stage. US imperialism is pursuing a fresh shift in the global division of labour to greatly favour and sustain its own economic objectives and directly counter the Beijing-Moscow axis via a newfound economic-security framework spanning the Asia-Pacific region.

As the working-class masses today continue to suffer from the combined systemic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the generalised crisis of capital, the climate change emergency, and the rising inter-imperialist/great power contestations, US imperialism is embarking on a revitalised geostrategic offensive of comprehensive economic and defense-based initiatives to guarantee America’s preeminent standing within the capitalist world order into the latter half of the 21st Century.

US imperialism’s external policy agenda is fundamentally directed at negating the China-Russia strategic partnership. This can readily be seen in a series of US-led foreign relations endeavours that were all generally activated within this very same month of May, 2022. These latest economic and security projects geographically cover the northeastern and southeastern sections of East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific. They are basically geared to link and unite certain willing states from this region under America’s central leadership and control.

Just a week prior to visiting Asia, Biden hosted the US-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington (May 12‒13) to court and influence various member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to solidify their respective economic-diplomatic-defense relations with America. Biden then met with South Korean (May 20‒22) and Japanese leaders (May 22‒23) to issue them with their latest US-approved instructions. On May 23, Biden proceeded to launch the Washington-designed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) in Tokyo; with a dozen countries initially joining America’s brand-new neoliberal project targeting Asian markets for super-profits. The IPEF is expected to undermine and outflank China’s own expanding economic sphere of influence within the area.

At the same time, Biden convened a summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) — also in Tokyo — on May 24. The Quad Summit, which also included Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australia’s newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, issued a strong statement that was obviously aimed at China at the end of their conference. The Quad promises to “strongly oppose any coercive, provocative or unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo” in the Asia-Pacific region. Even before his flight back home to Washington, the US president provoked Beijing by publicly vowing to deploy US military forces against China should the latter employ military force concerning Taiwan — instead of reaffirming the decades-long peaceful and internationally recognised “One China Policy”.

The US imperialist leader also met with Anthony Albanese, Australia’s new prime minister, on the sidelines of the Quad Summit. Albanese reassured Biden of Canberra’s firm and loyal commitment to remain an active member-state of the Australia-United Kingdom-United States (AUKUS) “trilateral security partnership” under American command. They agreed to further strengthen their collective security arrangement in direct coordination with the UK. This further proves their joint willingness to build a strong international counterforce to China’s swiftly increasing influence across Asia.

Within a short period of only less than two weeks, US imperialism’s top echelon has once again shown its unilateral capacity and readiness to institute a geostrategic agenda that will commence a realignment of frontline states across the Asia-Pacific region to aggressively confront China — even as, the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) militarily engages Russian forces inside Ukraine.

Within the context of the current world situation, and under the cover of the multiple crises of the global capitalist system, US imperialism is now inflicting upon the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and its working masses, a “Triad of Aggression”. This Triad of Aggression, which coordinates and harmonises the seemingly separate AUKUS-IPEF-Quad initiatives, must be understood from the viewpoint of Washington’s deliberate scheme.

The combined foreign policy function and role of the AUKUS-IPEF-Quad Triad of Aggression is primed to unleash a geostrategic onslaught against any Eurasian great power competitor. It aims to prevent a competing power from reaping an almost total hegemonic dominance over the Eastern Hemisphere in the long run. In the mindset of US imperialism’s foreign/security policy planners, this hoped-for scenario can ultimately lead to a more comprehensive American sphere of influence and domination within the Asia-Pacific region. This will maximise the US' global power in terms of wider export markets for capital and goods, greater surplus through an expanded and exploited workforce, more puppet regimes aligned to US foreign policy objectives, extensive sources of raw strategic minerals to maintain America’s edge in economic-technological-military superiority, and an increase in overseas military bases for conducting future wars of aggression under Washington’s general guidance and command.

Hence, we, the undersigned organisations, call for the following measures to help foster a peacefully cooperative global environment forward:

1. All imperialist troops out of Asia now. All US and British imperialist troops, together with other foreign military forces, must immediately be withdrawn from Asia now! Likewise, all US military bases and facilities across the Asia-Pacific region must be shut down straight away!

2. Close down FPDA bases. All other foreign military bases across the region, including those belonging to the British-led Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) must be closed down instantly!

3. Dismantle all imperialist intelligence infrastructure. All Asia-Pacific-based physical forces and intelligence interception infrastructure of the imperialist controlled Five Eyes intelligence alliance and, the Echelon intelligence network, must promptly be dismantled!

4. SEANWFZ. Firmly uphold the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Treaty to urgently demilitarise the area; and simultaneously, advocate and campaign for a broader Asia-Pacific-wide nuclear weapon-free zone treaty and regime!

5. Advance a common security policy. Steadily promote and advance progressive regional peace initiatives as building blocks toward a common security policy to foster a more peaceful and cooperative global order, especially for the Asia-Pacific region.

6. Non-alignment. Support growing worldwide moves to boost the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), especially its historically progressive principles to decrease and deescalate great power contentions.

7. SRAEC. Popularise to institutionalise the concept of a “Shared Regional Area of Essential Commons” (SRAEC) with a progressively unifying code of conduct for the Southeast Asian Sea.

8. Dismantle authoritarian, ultra-rightist, and fascistic regimes. Intensify the many struggles to remove these state-based regimes in the Asia-Pacific region that serve as the national bases of support for US imperialism and replace these states with working-class states that will advance and build socialism.

9. Reject America’s Triad of Aggression. Resolutely push the ASEAN, its member-states, and other non-ASEAN countries in the Asia-Pacific region to adopt an actively neutral and non-aligned stance concerning inter-imperialist rivalries, while rejecting any and all efforts for them to join US imperialism’s Triad of Aggression (AUKUS-IPEF-Quad).

10. Bolster working-class solidarity and internationalism. Expand and consolidate our links of working-class solidarity and internationalism to successfully resist and defeat the rising global maneuvers of US imperialism, and renew all efforts to bolster anti-imperialist/anti-fascist united fronts for militant mass struggles at the national-regional-international levels.