SINGAPORE – The US Secretary of State presented Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy Friday to the leaders present at the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Singapore.
Mike Pompeo, who was co-chairing the multilateral meeting, said in a televised address said that the US is a Pacific nation and spoke about the country’s Indo-Pacific strategy.
This new project seeks to invest $113 million in energy, technology and infrastructure initiatives in Asia, in what analysts see as an attempt to counter China’s growing influence in the region.
The new initiative will also increase the ceiling on US loans to private companies developing programs outside the country.
Pompeo said that ASEAN was the major destination for US investment in Asia.
He also met representatives of Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam and other countries, part of the Lower Mekong Initiative, in Singapore Friday, as well as his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavusoglu.
Pompeo is set to participate in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and East Asia Summit on Saturday.
The US secretary is also set to discuss North Korea and the need to maintain sanctions against Kim Jong-un’s regime.
Pompeo arrived in Kuala Lumpur Thursday night, as part of his first Southeast Asia tour, which began Friday morning with a meeting with Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Pompeo will end his trip this weekend in Jakarta after meeting with the Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
ASEAN consists of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, and the Philippines.
The East Asia Summit also includes Australia, China, South Korea, the US, India, Japan, New Zealand and Russia in addition to the 10 ASEAN countries.
The ARF, which addresses security issues, also includes, in addition to the East Asia Summit participants, Bangladesh, Canada, North Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, East Timor and the European Union.