Mike Pompeo previews 'down payment' on Asia investment

Pompeo to unveil investment push in Indo-Pacific | TheHill

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: U.S. to ‘Deepen Engagement’ in Asia

Australia is joining forces with the United States and Japan to pull more private infrastructure investment into poor countries in Asia and the Pacific in what will be a rival vision to China's massive state-led Belt and Road Initiative.

In remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Forum in Washington Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the investments represent America's engagement in the region and dedication to promoting independence there.

"Because our allies and our partners are essential to our goals in the Indo-Pacific, we want to expand economic investment and development", Hook said in a phone conference with journalists from across Asia and the Pacific.

It is also widely seen as an attempt by the United States to offer smaller nations an alternative to Beijing and Mr Pompeo said the Trump administration was seeking "partners, not domination" in the Indo-Pacific.

The U.S. "will not seek dominance in the Indo-Pacific, and will oppose any country that does", he said.

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

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

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"The US has a strong interest in also supporting all of the trading connectivity and being part of it", she said adding that American business, technology and capital has an important role to play.

"In both scale and scope, these initiatives pale in ambition relative to comparable initiatives by China", Prasad said. "We help American firms succeed so that local communities can flourish and bilateral partnerships can grow".

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.

"We have a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific and it doesn't exclude any nation", Hook said, "and we welcome contributions by China to regional development". We want it to be free, we want it to be open. This is key for worldwide peace and for each country's attainment of its own national aims. "I don't think that this is meant to be in any way a message to any particular country".

The US Department of State is skilled at executing this kind of diplomatic strategy: Convening across regions, persuading other countries of the validity of an approach, and developing partnerships across the public and private sectors.

"The American people and the whole world have a stake in the Indo-Pacific's peace and prosperity, it is why the Indo-Pacific must be free and open", he stressed. He also reaffirmed the administration's support for the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act, which would more than double the United States government's development-finance capacity, to $60 billion, to support USA private investment in strategic opportunities overseas.

The US also announced strengthened support for important regional institutions, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Lower Mekong Initiative, and the Indian-Ocean Rim Association.

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