Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech Monday that at first glance appeared to focus on general U.S. investment in Asia. However, when taking into account the ongoing economic clashes between the United States and China, the overarching message couldn’t be more clear.
.@SecPompeo at #IndoPacificBizForum: The #IndoPacific is one of the greatest engines of the future global economy. America will be there. The American people and the whole world have a stake in Indo-Pacific peace and prosperity. That is why the Indo-Pacific must be free and open. pic.twitter.com/tNfiPzLAUv
— Department of State (@StateDept) July 30, 2018
The United States is ready and more than willing to compete economically with China even in Beijing’s own backyard.
“America will be there and American businesses will be there. The American people and the whole world have a stake in Indo-Pacific peace and prosperity. That is why the Indo-Pacific must be free and open,” Pompeo told a U.S. Chamber of Commerce forum in Washington, D.C. Monday, according to an excerpt of the speech.
Pompeo announced that the U.S. would be investing $113 million in new initiatives in the “Indo-Pacific.” Those investments will be focuses on technology, energy, and infrastructure projects, the secretary of state confirmed.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) July 30, 2018
“Like so many of our Asian allies and friends, our country fought for its own independence from an empire that expected deference,” Pompeo added, honing in on China without mentioning it by name. “We thus have never and will never seek domination in the Indo-Pacific, and we will oppose any country that does.”
At #IndoPacific Business Forum @SecPompeo announces $113mil in new US initiatives to support digital economy, energy & infrastructure in IndoPac + a possible $31bil provided in #BuildAct @StateDept pic.twitter.com/1EK1mI7xfs
— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) July 30, 2018
According to Jonathan Swan of Axios, who received a briefing on the speech on Sunday, the Trump administration is seeking to convince U.S. partners in the “Indo-Pacific” region that a bolstered trade relationship with the United States is the best long term play for their interests.
The secretary of state will travel to Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia this week, in an effort to jumpstart the new U.S. initiative.