Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Pompeo's Indo-Pacific strategy is just a start

Pompeo's Indo-Pacific strategy is just a start

In a speech before the US-India Business Council of the US Chamber of Commerce on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined the Trump administration's Indo-Pacific economic strategy, seen by many as the response to China's Belt and Road initiative.

Pompeo made broad claims for United States efforts in the Indo-Pacific, heralding "a new era in U.S. economic commitment to peace and prosperity" in the region.

"When Secretary Pompeo said 'we seek partnership and not domination, ' and 'strategic partnership and not strategic dependency, ' the administration is basically telling the Chinese communists that their fantasy of expanding Chinese communist control and influence, when communism is dying as an ideology worldwide, is nothing but a hallucination", Xie said.

Noting that government spending alone can never address the Indo-Pacific's needs, and referring to the Asian Development Bank figure that developing countries in the region will need Dollars 26 trillion for infrastructure alone by 2030, Pompeo said no government or combination of governments has that kind of money.

She said American companies will be a critical player in both investing the capital and building the technology and infrastructure that the region requires.

Earlier in the day, Pompeo launched the economic and commercial pillars of the Trump administration's Indo-Pacific strategy.

American assistance and investment in railways, ports, and other infrastructure helped create a foundation for our South Korean friends to recover, thrive, and build one of the world's great economies one that is now strong enough to aid other countries in their development, he said.

Australia's diplomatic relationship with China, its most important trading partner, has been strained since December when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Chinese meddling in the nation's government and media were a catalyst for new anti-foreign interference laws, which passed parliament last month. We're looking for partnerships.

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Trump pulled the United States out of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership with Australia, New Zealand and nine other nations just three days after moving into the White House. We want it to be free, we want it to be open. "I won't give you the full history, but I will note how the USA has played a foundational role in enabling the growth, development, and wealth we see across the Indo-Pacific today", he added.

"We will draw on all of these to grow sustainable and secure energy markets in the Indo-Pacific", he said.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop said the trilateral partnership would "mobilise investment in projects that drive economic growth, create opportunities, and foster a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific".

"In all these areas - digital economy, energy, and infrastructure - we look forward to working with allies and partners", Pompeo added.

Speaking to business leaders in Washington, Pompeo said the USA would invest US$113m in digital economy, energy and infrastructure in the region and double the government's development finance capacity to US$60bn.

Under this the United States will support communications infrastructure development through technical assistance and public-private partnerships; promote market-driven digital regulatory policies; and build partners' cybersecurity capacity to address common threats, he said.

Background: Pompeo's announcement is meant to kick of his trip to the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum by signaling that smaller countries drawn to China's economic outreach can rely on the United States.

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