Mike Pompeo at lectern in front of Indo-Pacific Business forum sign (© Alex Wong/Getty Images)
A free and open Indo-Pacific benefits not just the region but the world, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said July 30. (© Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States is committed to advancing peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific in partnership with nations that share the belief that the region must remain free and open.

In a July 30 address to business leaders and officials from the region, Pompeo laid out “the Trump administration’s strategy for advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific, and why U.S. business engagement is at the center of it.”

Pompeo announced $113 million in new U.S. support for digital, energy and infrastructure projects to help spread prosperity in a region home to a third of the world’s population and four of its six largest economies.

“The American people and the whole world have a stake in the Indo-Pacific’s peace and prosperity. It’s why the Indo-Pacific must be free and open.” ~ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The secretary said the U.S. has “never and will never seek domination in the Indo-Pacific, and we will oppose any country that does.”

“We want all nations … to be able to protect their sovereignty from coercion by other countries,” he said in describing what “free” means. Free also means nations are committed to good governance and their citizens’ fundamental rights and liberties.

Likewise, “we want all nations to enjoy open access to seas and airways,” the secretary said. “We want the peaceful resolution of territorial and maritime disputes,” he said.

Pompeo stressed the importance of countries’ attracting more private investment by making their economies more welcoming for U.S. and other businesses. “With American companies, citizens around the world know that what you see is what you get: honest contracts, honest terms and no need for off-the-books mischief,” said Pompeo, himself a former businessman.

Sun rising over a cityscape (© Sadiq Asyraf/AP Images)
Secretary Pompeo will travel August 1–5 to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (above), Singapore and Indonesia. (© Sadiq Asyraf/AP Images)

Helping keep the Indo-Pacific free and open is in the national security interests of the United States as well as its economic interests, he said. He will take the same message on his trip to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia later this week.

The importance of the Indo-Pacific region was underscored by the number of administration officials participating in the forum: Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green, president and chief executive of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation Ray Washburne and Jeffrey Gerrish, acting chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank.

Learn more about the U.S. role in the Indo-Pacific, including how it protects fishing, drilling and other activities, and a recent U.S. trade mission to the region.