The United Kingdom’s Indo-Pacific Engagement

Since its unprecedented departure from the European Union, the United Kingdom has progressively moved to broaden its foreign policy outlook to take account of other critical regions in the world. In 2021, the government produced an integrated review of the country’s future security, defense, and development goals and in 2023 unveiled a “refresh” of that document. Although both stress that the security and prosperity of the Euro-Atlantic theater will remain a core British priority, they each give added weight to the imperative of engaging the Indo-Pacific on account of its central importance to the global economy and the increasingly bellicose behavior of the People’s Republic of China there. The United Kingdom is also party to the trilateral AUKUS partnership with Australia and the United States. The pact aims, at least in part, to provide the three countries with advanced deterrence capabilities for pushing back against Chinese assertiveness and thereby ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific — again signifying the government’s desire to deepen its engagement with the region. Become a Member It is not apparent that there would be a decisive shift in the United Kingdom’s current foreign policy trajectory should Labour defeat the Conservatives in the country’s next general election widely expected in 2024. The differences between the two parties are more tonal than substantive, with each acknowledging the core importance of ensuring the United Kingdom’s interests in Europe, but accepting the growing need to expand the country’s influence farther east, particularly in light of a rapidly ascending China. A Lot in Common Keir Starmer, the leader of the Opposition, has consistently stressed that if elected to office, he would prioritize reconnecting with Europe to repair the damage done by the governing Conservative Party’s chaotic exit from the European Union. This general thrust dovetails with a central plank […]

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By Donato