Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
World News | By Joan Terry

Mike Pompeo pledges U.S. 'partnership not domination' in 'Indo-Pacific' region

Mike Pompeo pledges U.S. 'partnership not domination' in 'Indo-Pacific' region

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlines his strategy to help Indo-Pacific economies bolster their infrastructure so they can better compete with China.

"The Trump administration is committed to expanding our economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region", Pompeo said, adding "we believe in strategic partnerships, not strategic dependency".

"These funds represent just a down payment on a new era in USA economic commitment to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region".

"We seek to work with anyone to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, so long as that cooperation adheres to the highest standards that our citizens demand".

While the United States has always been a significant economic player in the Asia-Pacific, U.S. policymakers have also long contended with the problem of how to engage economically with the region relative to other key players.

He asserted that it is clear a big part of America's worldwide economic future is in the Indo-Pacific.

Qin said that some of China's previous allies, such as Pakistan, have already felt the ambition for political expansion attached to the "One Belt, One Road" initiative, and have started to worry about their national security and long-term interests.

A diplomatic strategy needs specifics - like partner governments and a scope of focus.

Australia and Japan have joined the United States in a push to invest in infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific region, Reuters reports, citing a statement from the three nations.

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Countries in the region have been anxious by Trump's "America first" policy, withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and pursuit of a trade conflict with China that threatens to disrupt regional supply chains. We want the peaceful resolution of territorial and maritime disputes. "This is key to global peace", Mr Pompeo said.

"It will be a conference and trade mission to India and other surrounding countries where U.S. exporters will meet with decisionmakers on opportunities they have learned about at DGM (Discover Global Markets) and Access Asia events", the Commerce Department said.

He launched new initiatives to accelerate United States private investment and support job-creating U.S. export opportunities in the areas of digital economy, infrastructure, and energy.

In the '60s, we grew partnerships to address basic developmental needs.

Ray Washburne, president of the USA government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation, said it hopes to double the $4 billion it now has invested in the Indo-Pacific "in the next few years".

"This is meant to be an articulation of a robust policy and engagement from the U.S., from the government and from the business community and desire to do so in a way that is collaborative and consultative with our partners and counterparts across the region", she said.

Bishop did not name China, but Canberra has been critical of Beijing's Pacific "soft diplomacy" push and has refocused its aid programmes to win hearts and minds in the island nations. But Pompeo did not offer any outline of specific diplomatic partnerships with like-minded countries or companies that would leverage United States funding for bigger impact.

And what is Pompeo's plan to engage regional institutions such as the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), or the Indian Ocean Rim Association?

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