Tuesday, 22 October, 2019

Australia, US and Japan form investment alliance to counter China’s Pacific influence

State Pompeo hosts religious freedom summit at the State Department in Washington Australia, US and Japan form investment alliance to counter China’s Pacific influence
Patty Aguilar | 01 August, 2018, 19:50

He said he would be bringing an invitation to partner with the United States."We remain committed to economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region because of the national security benefits for the American people", he said."Today I want to close by inviting any nation, and any business that wants those values enshrined in this region to partner with the United States government", he said.

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 fulfil its potential. More than one-third of the global population is there.

The new USA initiatives and funding would be focused on digital economy, energy and infrastructure, Hook said, without giving any figures on investment amounts.

Washington's renewed commitment to the Indo-Pacific comes amidst a trade war between the USA and China and concerns in the West about Beijing's ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure and trade initiative.

This comes as the USA looks to expand its trade relationship with Indo-Pacific countries in a move to limit dependence on trade with China.

Pompeo talked about the Trump administration's strategy for advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific, and why U.S. business engagement is at the centre of it-it's a staple of Washington's mission to promote peace, stability, and prosperity.

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.

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.

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"These funds represent just a down payment on a new era in U.S. economic commitment to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region", Pompeo said. Another advantage of the U.S.is that "we will help them keep their people free from coercion or great power domination", he said.

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.

Pompeo said he will visit Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia this week, where he planned to announce new security assistance.

Asia EDGE - Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy - will promote energy security and access by boosting United States exports and encouraging market-based policies.

The United States first outlined its strategy to develop the Indo-Pacific economy at an Asia-Pacific summit previous year.

Hook said on Monday that the planned investment initiatives are not meant to combat China's Belt and Road projects. China is pouring billions of dollars in investments into the region.

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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