AFP:  The European Union has resolved to step up its defence strategy in the Indo-Pacific region in light of fears about China’s growing presence and concerns for the international order sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
 “Our motto is always to cooperate whenever possible, but to defend whenever necessary as well,” said Gabriele Visentin, the EU’s special envoy to the Indo-Pacific. “It’s not directed against a country or another – it’s a way of enhancing our capacity and our credibility in terms of defending our interests.”  Visentin said there was no evidence to suggest a war was imminent in the region – which covers a vast sweep of the globe from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific island countries – but the EU was concerned the “multilateral rules-based order will not be fully respected”.
 “The pricetag that has been put on the breach of the multilateral rules-based order is quite high. It’s surely a signal to others who might wish to break the multilateral order in such a violent way, well, then they know what they can encounter.” China is viewed as the biggest such threat in the region. Visentin said China was seen as “a partner, a competitor and a rival” by the EU.