Washington: The Trump administration on Sunday defended the use of ‘Indo-Pacific’ phrase instead of ‘Asia Pacific’, saying it captures the importance of the rise of India.
“We have strong and growing ties with India. We talk about ‘Indo-Pacific’ in part because that phrase captures the importance of India’s rise,” a senior White House official told reporters in Tokyo.
“It (Indo-Pacific) captures the importance of the maritime free commons that allow our security and our prosperity to continue,” the official added.
He was responding to queries on the increasing use of the phrase ‘Indo-Pacific’ by the Trump Administration, its talk about free and open trade in the region and how the Chinese should regard that.
The White House official further said on condition of anonymity that the strategy was ‘certainly’ not to contain China. PTI reported
Reaffirming that the United States is a Indo-Pacific power, the official said America’s security and prosperity depends on the US maintaining access for free flow of commerce to this region, because it is a Pacific nation.
To a question on talks about a strategic dialogue between India, Japan, Australia and the US, the official said this is not about containing China.
“On the question of cooperation between allies and partners, the US is always talking very closely, from the leader level all the way down to our close allies, Australia and Japan. That is longstanding,” the official said.
Neither the US nor Australia or Japan have a security alliance with India, the official said, adding, “India is an increasingly important security partner, no doubt. It’s natural that they should be, given that they are really, sort of, conceptually the western edge of the Indo-Pacific region, the United States making up the eastern edge of that.”
“India to the west, the United States the east,” the official said.
Trump lands in Japan:
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump ramped up his tough rhetoric against North Korea when he arrived in Japan on Sunday, saying that the United States and its allies are prepared to defend freedom and that ‘no dictator’ should underestimate US resolve.
He told reporters on Air Force One en route to Asia that North Korea would figure prominently in discussions during the trip, as per Reuters.
Trump also singled out trade, which he said had been ‘badly handled’ in the region for years.
After Japan, he will head to South Korea on November 7 where he will visit Camp Humphreys, a US military complex south of Seoul but will not go to the heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) on the border between the South and North.
Trump will then visit China on November 8 where he will participate in a series of events with his counterpart Xi Jinping.
In Vietnam (November 10-11), he will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Danang and make a state visit to Hanoi. He is likely to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin here.
His final engagement will be a summit of South-East Asian nations in the Philippine capital, Manila (November 12-13).