Three big predictions about China, Japan, the United States, Australia and India

Aircraft carriers and warships are participating in the second phase of Naval Exercise Malabar, a joint exercise involving India, the United States, Japan and Australia, in the northern Arabian Sea , Tuesday November 17, 2020. The four countries form the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or the Quad.

Indian Navy | PA

With its first in-person White House summit on Friday, the Quad is making its biggest hit on a world stage increasingly shaped by China.

US President Joe Biden is due to meet Prime Ministers Yoshihide Suga of Japan, Scott Morrison of Australia and Narendra Modi of India.

The “quadrilateral security dialogue” between Australia, India, Japan and the United States was once an informal and ongoing discussion among senior officials on naval cooperation.

US President Joe Biden hosts’ Quad Nations’ meeting at Quadrilateral Framework Leaders’ Summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in the East Room of the White House in Washington, United States, September 24, 2021.

Evelyne Hockstein | Reuters

Now, the Quad is transforming into high-level strategic cooperation on technology, the global economy, security, and the pandemic as China’s strength and influence grows. The group’s statements are careful to avoid mentioning China, but the Chinese government nonetheless opposes the Quad as an attempt to derail its rise as a world power.

To get an idea of ​​what to do next, CNBC asked a question in February: what is the future of the Quad? – and put it through an advanced game theory model. The effort generated specific predictions about the four Quad nations, China, and other countries and territories with an interest in the Indo-Pacific region. The game theory model for the CNBC Quad project was designed to focus on security and maritime issues.

More here: Read the full report on CNBC’s Quad Project, including data visualizations, maps and a timeline

The model built for this report included nearly 300 individual “players” – senior officials and national institutions – spread across the Quad nations, China, and 10 other countries and territories.

Here are the top three forecasts for the next two years or so that came out of the model:

  1. Australian, Indian, Japanese and American leaders will focus much more on Indo-Pacific security and countries will act in increasingly coordinated ways. However, they will not take any action as a more aggressive group than they already are. For example, they will not conduct group naval exercises in the South China Sea, which China claims to be its own.
  2. Chinese President Xi Jinping will pressure each of the Quad leaders separately in an attempt to create a wedge between them, but none will respond. Some senior Chinese leaders, including within the military, will begin to favor a more conciliatory approach to the Quad. But they will meet tough nationalists at the top of the Chinese Communist Party. China will not make any serious concessions to the Quad on its maritime claims.
  3. Other countries will align with the Quad or move closer to its security stance, including the UK, Canada, Singapore, France and South Korea. This could take the form of joining naval exercises with some or all of the Quad countries, or openly supporting group security-related positions. Other countries, like Vietnam, will be closer to the Quad than they are now.

Experts who spoke to CNBC about the results agreed with the first conclusion, that the Quad will grow stronger as a group.

“The basic conclusion that the Quad is becoming a permanent part of the architecture of Asia is correct. I think it is an integral part of the policy of the four countries,” said Michael Green, senior vice president for the Asia and President of Japan at the bipartite research organization CSIS. “It makes good politics in all four countries.”

Regarding the third prediction, analysts who spoke to CNBC unanimously agreed that the Quad would find friends in Asia and Europe. This projection “reflects what I hear from Korea, the Philippine military – and the Dutch, by the way,” Green said.

However, there was disagreement over the second conclusion, over Xi and the potential divisions within his government.

“Xi is very dominant and the soft liners won’t be able to challenge him,” said Larry Diamond, senior researcher at the Hoover Institution.

“Xi has gone so far on the path of militarizing the South China Sea and China’s promise of greatness, of China’s rise to hegemony in the Indo-Pacific, and essentially of the recovery of Taiwan, which it cannot seriously moderate … without falling from power or risking it, ”Diamond said.

Dive into CNBC’s Quad Project here.

Georgie Collins

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