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Pompeo’s Indo-Pacific Plan Is Compatible with Belt and Road

Aug. 7, 2018 (EIRNS)—China’s Global Times today published an article positively responding to the policy announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum on July 30. Pompeo announced a new U.S. push for investments in Asian infrastructure, which, although the program has been analyzed as a counter to the Belt and Road Initiative, was welcomed by Prof. Long Xingchun, a senior fellow at the Charhar Institute and director of the Center for Indian Studies at China West Normal University.

Professor Long writes:

“While the geopolitical connotation of the strategy may lead to regional tensions and conflicts and thus put countries in the region on alert, the geoeconomic concept will promote regional economic development and should be welcomed.”

He further states that

“geoeconomic cooperation is better than geopolitical struggle. As U.S. and Chinese investments can both facilitate Indo-Pacific development, the two can synergize to create a complementary effect.”

Professor Long assesses that Pompeo’s emphasis on a “free and open” Indo-Pacific, “shares similarity with an open, inclusive and transparent BRI of China.” He continues:

“Pompeo defined that a ‘free and open’ Indo-Pacific means the U.S. wants all nations ‘to be able to protect their sovereignty from coercion by other countries’ and ‘to enjoy open access to seas and airways.’ This is actually in the interest of China, the world’s largest trading and shipping country.”

He writes that

“China and the U.S. share a target of promoting infrastructure construction and connectivity.... Given the common goal, all efforts are welcome as long as they can help promote regional infrastructure development.... Governments and companies in China, the U.S., Japan, India and others can cooperate in the Indo-Pacific region to advance economic development and share the achievements.”

While there are certainly those in the U.S. who want the new U.S. initiative to be used to contain and confront China, this Chinese response is appealing to the wiser minds in the U.S., to join in the win-win spirit of China’s BRI.

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