Pompeo Announces US Initiatives in Emerging Asia

Pompeo to unveil investment push in Indo-Pacific | TheHill

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

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unveiled the plan on Monday at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington.

The partnership is based on a memorandum of understanding to support investment in infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific region, signed between the Australian DFAT and US OPIC during Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Washington visit in February.

The US Department of Commerce has granted Strategic Trade Authorisation Tier 1 status to India similar to America's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, enabling American companies to export more high-technology items under a streamlined licence exception.

In addition to Pompeo, Ross and Perry envisioning the administration's policies for the Indo-Pacific region, other top administration officials include USAID Administrator Mark Green, OPIC President Ray Washburne, Acting Ex-Im Bank Chairman Jeffrey Gerrish, and US Chamber President and CEO Thomas J Donohue.

"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".

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China said on Tuesday that the United States and its allies' increased infrastructure investment in Asia was welcome but hoped they would come up with "real money and concrete measures" to help people in the region.

Reuters noted that the initiative is part of a broader effort by the USA and its allies to reassert their influence in the Pacific amid fears that the region is increasingly susceptible to diplomatic pressure from Beijing, which is spending billions of dollars on its Belt and Road initiative.

India is a key partner in America's efforts to ensure peace, stability and prosperity in the strategic Indo-Pacific region, the Trump administration has said.

Pompeo said, "When we say "free" Indo-Pacific, it means we all want all nations, every nation, to be able to protect their sovereignty from coercion by other countries". The scale of the Belt and Road Initiative - trillions of dollars - means that U.S. assistance will not be able to match up.

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. "It is a made-in-China, made-for-China initiative".

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Pompeo announced at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum that the Millennium Challenge Corporation will implement a $350 million compact with Mongolia to enhance sustainable water supply to the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar.

Through Asia EDGE (which stands for Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy), US will invest almost Dollars 50 million this year to help Indo-Pacific partners import, produce, move, store, and deploy their energy resources.

"Our way of doing things is to keep the government's role very modest, and it's focused on helping businesses do what they do best", Hook said.

"It is an American vision that is deeply engaged in the region's economic, political, cultural, and security affairs".

Critics have accused Beijing of using the Belt and Road initiative to expand its global influence and saddle countries - particularly developing ones - with debt. Beijing has said it is simply a development project that any country is welcome to join.

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