Australia, Japan join USA infrastructure push in Asia

02 August, 2018, 13:48 | Author: Jason Torres
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo centre US. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Minister for Defence Marise Payne

In a major speech overnight, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced a $113 million package of new economic initiatives.

The move comes nine months after the Trump administration openly spoke against the "predatory economic policies of an Asian giant" that threatens to eat into sovereignty of countries in Indo-Pacific, which has now emerged as a critical engine for growth.

These sectors are foundations of the Indo-Pacific's economic future and the initiatives and funding are designed to accelerate U.S. private-sector investment in the region, support more job-creating United States export opportunities, and also to meet the region's needs for economic growth and development, Hook said, while declining to give details of the funds.

"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".

Pompeo said the United States "will oppose any country" which seeks to dominate the region in what appeared to be a reference to Beijing amid heightened tensions in the South China Sea.

"Our core message... is that a free and open Indo-Pacific is good for the region, it is good for America and it is good for business", he told journalists. "American friendship is welcomed, and American businesses are recognised for their ingenuity, reliability, and honesty", Pompeo said. "We really do see that India is one of the anchor countries in how we bring this whole region into greater connectivity and really boost commerce and trade across the region", she said.

Speaking at the same event, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the United States has eased export controls for high-technology product sales to India.

Government spending by itself "can never address the Indo-Pacific's needs", he added. We want the peaceful resolution of territorial and maritime disputes. "This is key for global peace and each country's attainment of its own national dreams", Pompeo said.

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In contrast, Qin believes that the US initiatives on digital connectivity, energy projects, and infrastructure target the needs of this region and will foster fair and reciprocal relationships, with U.

Countries in the region have been anxious by Trump's "America first" policy, withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal and pursuit of a trade conflict with China that threatens to disrupt regional supply chains.

"We will draw on all of these to grow sustainable and secure energy markets in the Indo-Pacific", he said. "We stand ready to enhance the security of our partners and to assist them in developing their economies and societies in ways that ensure human dignity".

Senator Mark Warner, co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, would provide Congressional perspective on how it's important for the USA public and private sector to be engaged in the Indo-Pacific region.

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

This will start with a $25 million initial investment to improve partner countries' digital connectivity and expand opportunities for U.S. technology exports.

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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