U.S. partnerships bolster Indo-Pacific prosperity

Secretary Pompeo speaking at lectern (State Dept./Ron Przysucha)
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivers a speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, on the importance of unalienable rights on October 29. (State Dept./Ron Przysucha)

The United States is strengthening long-standing ties with Asian nations to support economic recovery from COVID-19 and boost prosperity in the region.

During an October 25–30 trip, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met with top officials from five nations in South Asia and East Asia to advance economic and strategic partnerships based on shared values.

“We are vibrant, diverse democracies, and we honor religious freedom,” Pompeo said after his October 29 meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. “We respect freedom of the seas, sovereignty, and the rule of law.”

Throughout the trip Pompeo emphasized that respect for democracy, human rights and religious freedom are essential for lasting peace and prosperity.

Pompeo noted that the United States has given $11 million to help Indonesia fight COVID-19. And he said the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation is poised to promote private-sector investment to support the country’s plans for billions of dollars in infrastructure development.

The United States supports a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. The Trump administration in November 2017 announced a strategy for the region based on the belief that nations should be independent and strong, and satellites to none.

During an October 28 meeting with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Pompeo discussed plans for post-pandemic recovery and continued economic development. In remarks to reporters, he emphasized the importance of continued private-sector investment, noting U.S. companies have created high-quality jobs in Sri Lanka.

“These American companies are the most reliable partners on the planet,” Pompeo said. “They’re accountable to the law, they’re transparent, they’re assets to the communities in which they operate.”

Pompeo congratulated Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih October 28 on progress in strengthening democratic institutions in recent years. And he announced plans to open a U.S. Embassy in the Maldives, part of the United States’ commitment to the region.

Pompeo joined U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper in India October 27 for the third annual 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue with their counterparts to discuss the U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership and to promote regional stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

U.S. companies have invested $20 billion in India during 2020, according to a State Department fact sheet. Pompeo noted that U.S. and Indian health officials are working closely to respond to COVID-19 and said the two countries’ private sectors are advancing treatments for the disease.

“I am glad to say that the United States and India are taking steps to strengthen our cooperation against all manner of threats,” Pompeo said after the ministerial. “I am also confident that our two nations will work together in new and better ways to meet the region’s infrastructure needs.”