Addressing Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Washington on July 30, 2018, US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo detailed a plan for a “free and open Indo-Pacific”. The plan aims to provide “fair and reciprocal trade, open investment environments, transparent agreement between nations, and improved connectivity to drive regional ties”.
US has initially earmarked $113 million to provide support in foundational areas like digital economy, energy, and infrastructure. Pompeo described this recent initiative as implementation of President Donald Trump’s vision for the region which he had outlined at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Vietnam in 2017. This arrangement is meant to address the apprehension circulating in the region since Trump’s decision to pull out of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); and amid fears that region has become increasingly susceptible to diplomatic assertiveness from Beijing.