Pompeo to unveil investment push in Indo-Pacific

Pompeo to unveil investment push in Indo-Pacific
© Anna Moneymaker

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight Overnight Defense: Trump to sign funding deal, declare national emergency | Shanahan says allies will be consulted on Afghanistan | Dem demands Khashoggi documents Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general MORE will announce a series of economic initiatives for the Indo-Pacific region on Monday, as the U.S. seeks to bolster investment in the region, according to Reuters.

Brian Hook, Pompeo's senior policy adviser, said in a conference call that the investment initiatives will focus on digital economy, energy and infrastructure, the news agency reported.

The planned investments come amid concerns about China's increasing influence in Asia and elsewhere, as Beijing pursues its Belt and Road initiative — a global development project that seeks to build infrastructure linking parts of Asia, Europe and Africa.

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It also comes amid an increasingly bitter trade war between the U.S. and China that has worried other countries in the region.

“Indo-Pacific” is used as shorthand for a broader and democratic-led region in place of “Asia-Pacific” which is seen by some observers as placing China too strongly at the center of the region, according to Reuters.

Hook said on Monday that the planned investment initiatives are not intended to combat China's Belt and Road projects. Instead, he said that the government would play a minimal role in the initiatives, unlike China's plans, which are largely state-led.

"It is a made in China, made for China initiative," Hook said, according to Reuters. "Our way of doing things is to keep the government’s role very modest and it’s focused on helping businesses do what they do best."

Critics have accused Beijing of using the Belt and Road initiative to expand its global influence and saddle countries — particularly developing ones — with debt.