U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Asia next week to meet with authorities in India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia. The goal is to strengthen ties with strategic allies against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). All four countries have conflicts of interest with the CCP and Pompeo will take advantage of these differences to strengthen his alliances, days before the presidential elections.
The Trump administration during the last few months strengthened its alliances and strategic ties with neighboring countries of the Chinese regime, which are suffering first hand from the pressures and abuses of the CCP.
“We’re looking forward to strengthening critical relationships with our friends and partners, emphasizing our deep commitment to the Indo-Pacific and advancing our vision for long-term partnership and prosperity in the region,” said Dean Thompson, principal deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Central and South Asian Affairs. As reported by Reuters.
In his mission to strengthen partnerships in the Indo-Pacific, Pompeo led a meeting of foreign ministers from India, Japan, and Australia in early October in Tokyo. The four nations created a grouping called the “Quad,” which was designed to address the CCP’s growing hostility in the region.
Pompeo began the keynote address by saying, “As partners in this Quad, it is now more critical than ever that we work together to protect our people and partners from exploitation, corruption, and coercion by the CCP. We have seen it in the south, in the East China Sea, the Mekong, the Himalayas, the Taiwan Strait. These are just a few examples.”
As reported by Reuters, in October, on his first visit to Asia in over a year, Pompeo called for maximum collaboration from his allies against the growing regional influence imposed by the CCP. The development of a united front in the Asian region is advancing, albeit cautiously.
Although the U.S.’s main allies in the area (Japan, India, and Australia) have always shown themselves willing to collaborate with the Trump administration, the reality is that their economic dependence on the CCP does not allow them to advance at the speed they would like.
According to information detailed by Reuters, China was the main destination of Australian exports in 2019, the second destination of Japanese exports and the third destination of Indian exports.
“As partners in this Quad, it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP’s exploitation, corruption, and coercion. We’ve seen it in the south, in the East China Sea, the Mekong, the Himalayas, the Taiwan Straits. These are just a few examples.” Pompeo said.
During Pompeo’s trip next week, with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, India is expected to sign an agreement that will give it access to key U.S. satellite data to help improve the targeting of missiles and drones, Indian officials said, according to information accessed by Reuters.
As for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, it will be the first official U.S. visit in a decade. Pompeo is expected to focus his speech on advising the rulers to reduce dependence on the CCP, which has invested billions in building ports and roads as strategic nations on its new silk route, but leaving the people in deep debt.
Indonesia will be Pompeo’s last stop, and it comes amid growing rivalry in the South China Sea, which the Chinese Communist Party claims almost entirely as its own territory, while many states in the region, with the backing of the United States, oppose such a claim, including Indonesia.