The global military pushback against China's expansionism in the Indo-Pacific is accelerating, with the United Kingdom now indicating its readiness to join a de facto military alliance of democracies being called the "Asian NATO."
British media citing credible government sources said the administration of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made no objections the UK join the "Quadrilateral Security Dialogue," or QSD, better known as Quad.
Quad, a 2017 initiative of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, will establish an "Asian arc of democracy." This arc will include countries in Central Asia, Mongolia, South Korea, Southeast Asia, and "virtually all the countries on China's periphery -- except for China itself," according to Quad.
Quad has been called the "Asian NATO" due to the breadth of its membership. It's long been anticipated Quad will eventually transform into a military alliance. The original members of Quad are Japan, India, the United States, and Australia.
The UK is poised to join the Quad following a proposal from the Biden administration to expand the group's membership as a counterweight to China.
China hawk Kurt Campbell, appointed Indo-Pacific coordinator at the National Security Council (NSC) only last week, has put forward a position paper encouraging Asian countries to join the Quad.
As yet, there are no firm proposals on UK membership in the Quad for Johnson to review. On the other hand, Johnson previously highlighted the similarities between the UK's foreign policy and the principles set out by Biden.
Campbell formerly served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs under the Obama administration. He was one of the architects of Obama's "Pivot to Asia," or East Asia Strategy.
This strategy called for strengthening bilateral security alliances, deepening America's working relationships with emerging powers (including China), and advancing democracy and human rights, among others.
As Biden's Indo-Pacific Coordinator, or "Asia Tzar," Campbell will have broad management over NSC directorates responsible for China-related issues and parts of Asia.
He's expected to adapt the Pivot to Asia strategy to deal with the new strategic situation created by ex-president Donald Trump's confrontational strategic competition against China.
Campbell reports directly to national security adviser Jake Sullivan, a close friend whom he worked with at the Department of State during the Clinton administration.
Campbell and Sullivan made their thoughts known about how to deal with China in late 2019 in a joint essay for the magazine, Foreign Affairs, with the title, "Competition Without Catastrophe: How America Can Both Challenge and Coexist With China."
In this article, they dismissed the failed strategy that sought to engage China in hopes China will liberalize. Instead, they argue competition against China must revolve around the goal of coexisting with China rather than expecting to change it.