US Indo-Pacific Strategy Seeks to Contain China

Larry Hoffman
August 2, 2018

Australia, the United States and Japan will jointly invest in infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific, officials announced Tuesday, in an attempt to counter China's efforts to court influence in the region.

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

Observing that India and the US share enduring interests and values as the oldest and largest democracies, the top American diplomat said that India-US partnership is rooted in shared democratic values.

"When we say we want a "free" Indo-Pacific, it means we want all nations to be able to protect their sovereignty from coercion by others".

Pompeo says despite withdrawing from the deal, American companies are continuing to advance USA economic interests in the region.

The Chamber of Commerce said on its website that the Indo-Pacific could account for half the world's economy within decades, but needed investment of almost $26 trillion in order to fulfill its potential.

Pompeo also said in an interview with CNBC yesterday that any potential International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout for Pakistan's new government should not provide funds to pay off Chinese lenders.

The $113m package of economic initiatives are a "down payment in peace" for the region and an apparent message for China.

A diplomatic strategy needs specifics - like partner governments and a scope of focus. He said the United States had committed $113m to new investments in cybersecurity and the digital economy, energy and infrastructure spending.

The secretary of state conceded that some nations may doubt U.S. commitments to the region after Trump quit talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. "We know that India is a very important market for the countries of Asia and we want to support that greater collaboration in the region", she said.

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

India is a key partner to ensure that the entire region has peace, stability and growing prosperity, he said.

"I am announcing United States dollars 113 million in new U.S. initiatives to support foundational areas of the future: digital economy, energy, and infrastructure".

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

The US Department of Commerce (DOC), through Access Asia programme, proposes to dedicate 25 events, and its 2019 flagship trade mission, to connecting American firms with Indo-Pacific markets.

"The US government's Indo-Pacific initiatives will be shaped by these values and buttressed by partnerships with American companies".

He also announced strengthened support for important regional institutions in the Indo-Pacific, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and US-ASEAN Connect, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Lower Mekong Initiative, along with a first-ever contribution to the Indian Ocean Rim Association.

As part of its focus on Indo-Pacific region, the United States department of Commerce Monday announced to hold one of its flagship events in India next year.

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