BALANCE OF THREAT AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE US-LED MINI-LATERAL SECURITY ARCHITECTURE IN ASIA-PACIFIC
This paper argues that the emergence of China has influenced the distribution of capabilities in the global as well as regional political structure and consequently, the US with strong apprehensions realized to transform its traditional Hub-and-Spoke model (bilateral approach) in the region. Based in existing qualitative as well as quantitative data, the critical commentary has been drawn while using the integrative review technique. For theoretical apprehensions, Stephen M. Walt’s theory of balance of power is employed that gives a quite realistic depiction of the evolution in the US-Asia-Pacific strategy where the balance of threat has surpassed the balance of power. The paper finds that the US and allies perceive China’s assertive behavior and increased defense budget as a threat to the status quo (liberal order) as well as the threat of the area expansion in the region. Therefore, the US and allies particularly Australia, India, Japan, and South Korea have increased the defense cooperation with each other in order to balance the threat against China. With an aim to maintain and sustain hegemony and interests in the region, the US led bilateral alliances are shifting towards the Trilateral (Australia-US-Japan, US-Japan-ROK and Australia-UK-US) and Quadrilateral alliance system (Australia, India, Japan and the US). Hence, the Asia-Pacific has been observing the emergence and functioning of a new mini-lateral security alliance system under the leadership of the US.