Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

USA unveils $113m package to ensure prosperity in Pacific region

USA unveils $113m package to ensure prosperity in Pacific region

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced $113 million in new technology, energy and infrastructure initiatives in emerging Asia on Monday, at a time when China is pouring billions of dollars in investments into the region.

Pompeo made broad claims for United States efforts in the Indo-Pacific, heralding "a new era in U.S. economic commitment to peace and prosperity" in the region.

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"If the USA and any other countries have the will to step up infrastructure investment to boost regional interconnectivity, we welcome it", Geng told reporters at a daily briefing.

In Kuala Lumpur, Pompeo will stay till August 3 to meet senior Malaysian officials to discuss strengthening the bilateral comprehensive partnership and advancing common security and economic interests, following the country's recent government transition.

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"It's clear a big part of America's worldwide economic future is in this region", he said.

"The fact is that we demonstrate consistently that Australia is very focused on making sure that we can help the least-developed economies in our region to get on to a more economically sustainable footing", he said.

"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.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said last week that tensions with China are a "chronic problem" that could take years to resolve.

"We aspire to a regional order, independent nations that can defend their people and compete fairly in the global marketplace", he said.

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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.

"The (President Donald) Trump administration is committed to expanding our economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region", he said. We want the peaceful resolution of territorial and maritime disputes.

He launched new initiatives to accelerate United States private investment and support job-creating U.S. export opportunities in the areas of digital economy, infrastructure, and energy.

"We will draw on all of these to grow sustainable and secure energy markets in the Indo-Pacific", he said. "I won't give you the full history, but I will note how the United States has played a foundational role in enabling the growth, development, and wealth we see across the Indo-Pacific today", he added. Although under the BUILD Act that recently passed the House and is now before the Senate, the US government's development finance capacity would more than double to $60 billion dollars, that is far from enough for Indo-Pacific's needs, which is $26 trillion for infrastructure by the year 2030.

And what is Pompeo's plan to engage regional institutions such as the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), or the Indian Ocean Rim Association?

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