Australia, Japan join U.S. infrastructure push in Asia

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

The Forum will introduce the economic and commercial elements of the US' whole-of-government Indo-Pacific strategy and will include participation from senior administration officials, private sector and officials representing Indo-Pacific nations.

Pompeo announced that the us would be investing $113 million in new initiatives in the "Indo-Pacific".

In addition to Pompeo's remarks, the US, Japan and Australia also announced a trilateral investment partnership, a move seen as an attempt to counter China's growing investment in the region. Instead, he said that the government would play a minimal role in the initiatives, unlike China's plans, which are largely state-led.

While Pompeo stressed that the program did not intend to compete with China's Belt and Road Initiative, his speech spoke to several criticisms levied at Beijing's investments.

"It is a made-in-China, made-for-China initiative", Hook told reporters on a conference call.

Earlier in the day, Pompeo launched the economic and commercial pillars of the Trump administration's Indo-Pacific strategy. He emphasized America's commitment to the region, and the American definition of "freedom" and "openness", implicitly drawing a contrast to China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative.

"And only if countries make themselves welcoming to private investment will those trillions of dollars get off the sidelines, into their economies, and into productive enterprises that bring jobs and prosperity to their peoples", he said. "And that is what will advance American commercial interests and meet the needs of our partners in the Indo-Pacific".

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The Trump Administration had been using the term "Indo-Pacific" in diplomatic circles for a broader and democratic-led region in place of "Asia-Pacific".

Senator Mark Warner, co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, would provide Congressional perspective on how it's important for the U.S. public and private sector to be engaged in the Indo-Pacific region. At the national level, "free" means good governance and the assurance that citizens can enjoy their fundamental rights and liberties.

By "open", the U.S. means all nations must enjoy "open access to sea and air ways", he said. "We know that India is a very important market for the countries of Asia and we want to support that greater collaboration in the region", she said. This is key for global peace and for each country's attainment of its own national aims.

Mr. Pompeo, who is slated to visit to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia later this week, announced Monday some $113 million in new US government investments as a "down payment on a new era" for the U.S.in the region Monday.

"In all these areas - digital economy, energy, and infrastructure - we look forward to working with allies and partners", Pompeo added.

The agreement was expected to be signed at the 18-nation Pacific Islands Forum in September, New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, describing the Pacific as an "increasingly contested strategic environment".

"I'm convinced that history supports that theory, and I'm also convinced that the vast majority of the countries in the Indo-Pacific will agree with that", said the top American diplomat.

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