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Pence Goes on an ‘Indo-Pacific’ Trip, Pushes the BUILD Act

Nov. 11, 2018 (EIRNS)—U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, on the eve of leading a U.S. delegation to the ASEAN-U.S. Summit and the East Asia Summit in Singapore (Nov. 13-16), and then the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders meeting in Papua New Guinea (Nov. 18), wrote an op-ed “U.S. Seeks Collaboration, not Control, in Indo-Pacific,” for the Washington Post this morning. “Representing President Trump,” as he claimed, Pence primarily waxed eloquent about the “Indo-Pacific” region, a recent neo-con concept which is supposed to bring together the United States, Japan, Australia and India in a sort of partnership. Pence did not mention by name the intended target of such a much-discussed partnership, which is China. Cooperative economic relations between Japan and China have improved during 2018 and become focused on China’s Belt and Road Initiative; and those between India and China have become much more stable.

Of more interest is that Pence placed emphasis on President Trump’s having signed the BUILD Act on Oct. 5,

“which expands U.S. development finance capacity to $60 billion. Our nation is committed to helping the region build world-class ports and airports, roads and railways, and pipelines and data lines.”

And “businesses, not bureaucrats, will drive our efforts, because governments and state-owned enterprises are incapable of building lasting prosperity.” He said further about the three Asia meetings, “We will announce new deals and initiatives, many with significant financial backing from U.S. taxpayers and our business community.”

Thus far, BUILD Act target projects discussed for Africa and Ibero-America have been all about oil and gas recovery, refining and transshipment. This could change during Pence’s visits. But the Nikkei Asian Review in Tokyo reported Nov. 11:

“Government finance agencies from the U.S., Japan and Australia will agree Monday on providing joint financing for infrastructure in Asia, part of three-way national cooperation on projects in the Indo-Pacific Region. America’s Overseas Private Investment Corp., the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, and Australia’s Export Finance and Insurance Corp. will work together to support such energy projects as liquefied natural gas terminals, as well as infrastructure like undersea cables that has national security implications.”

Nothing about ports, roads, rails, etc.

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