A year after Russia invaded Ukraine, Xi Jinping’s backing of Vladimir Putin has opened the door for the United States and partners in the Pacific to shore up sometimes frayed relationships to the detriment of Beijing. In the past few months alone, Japan has pledged to double defense spending
and acquire long-range weapons from the US; South Korea has acknowledged that stability in the Taiwan Strait
is essential to its security; the Philippines has announced new US base access rights
and is talking about joint patrols of the South China Sea with Australia, Japan and the United States.
Those might be the biggest initiatives, but they are far from the only events that have left China increasingly isolated in its own backyard as it refuses to condemn the invasion of a sovereign country by its partner in Moscow while keeping military pressure on the self-ruled island of Taiwan.
Analysts say all these things would have likely happened without the war in Ukraine, but the war, and China’s backing of Russia, has helped grease the skids to get these projects done.