Pompeo to ASEAN: We can all prosper

Group of people crossing arms to grasp each others' hands (© Jonathan Ernst/AP Images)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, center, crosses his arms for the traditional "ASEAN handshake" at the 2019 ASEAN Forum. (© Jonathan Ernst/AP Images)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told “a story of American principles and Asian prosperity” during his trip to the Indo-Pacific region August 2.

Pompeo reiterated the United States’ steadfast partnerships in the region. “The United States was there with you all the way and it will be, helping you grow and forging ever-closer ties,” the secretary said at the 34th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok.

In 2020, for the first time since the 19th century, Asia’s economic output will exceed that of the rest of the world combined, Pompeo said, citing United Nations data analysis.

Data on U.S.-ASEAN economic relationship (State Dept.)

Many ASEAN economies prospered when their governments set the conditions for fair and free trade. “We’ve seen that regional prosperity goes hand-in-hand with innovation, with good governance, and with the rule of law,” Pompeo said.

More than 4,200 U.S. companies do business in the region, investing over a trillion dollars in the region, far more than any other country.

“Private investors have exponentially more money than any one government could ever bestow on any other country to build bridges, or ports, or electricity grids,” Pompeo said.

“The Trump administration is invested in the sovereignty, in the resilience and prosperity of every Southeast Asian nation.”  ~ Secretary of State Pompeo

The secretary noted the U.S. Navy’s role in keeping the Indo-Pacific’s shipping lanes safe for cargo to cross the world’s open waters.

“America builds things for mutual good,” he said. “And we build them to last.”