The Trump Administration & US - Indo-Pacific Relations

This resource will track statements, developments, visits, and other interactions in US-Indo-Pacific relations under the President Trump administration. Special focus will be given to the comments and activities of President Donald J. Trump; Vice President Mike Pence; United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer; Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark Esper; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Jr.; and (former) Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Methodology

Pinned Posts

Australia-Japan-United States Defense Ministers’ Meeting Joint Statement

"Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds, Japanese Minister of Defense KONO Taro, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper convened a virtual trilateral defense ministerial meeting on July 7 (Washington). The ministers reaffirmed their joint commitment to enhance security, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region in keeping with their shared values and longstanding alliances and close partnerships. This was the ninth meeting among the three nations’ defense leaders.

The ministers concurred that the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of a rules-based international order in…

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Secretary Pompeo's Press Availability with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang

"We also need to make some progress between our two countries on security. As Councilor Wang mentioned, I reaffirmed our concern with respect to China’s efforts to build a militarized outpost in the South China Sea, endangering the free flow of trade and threatening the sovereignty of other nations and undermining regional stability. I urged Councilor Wang and he confirmed China’s willingness to resolve these disputes in a peaceful way without resort to threats, coercion, or intimidation. I am confident that we can continue to…

Secretary Mattis Remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue - China

"Yet China's policy in the South China Sea stands in stark contrast to the openness of our strategy. It promotes -- what our strategy promotes, it calls into question China's broader goals. China's militarization of artificial features in the South China Sea includes the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, electronic jammers, and more recently, the landing of bomber aircraft at Woody Island. Despite China's claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapons systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of…

Secretary Mattis' Meeting with Vietnamese Minister of National Defense Lich

"Secretary Mattis and Minister Lich discussed the regional security environment and highlighted historic progress in the defense relationship since their last meeting, including the first post-war visit by a U.S. aircraft carrier to Vietnam in March 2018. They also reviewed progress on efforts to enhance the defense partnership, with a focus on increasing cooperation on maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peacekeeping operations, while continuing to address legacy of war issues. Secretary Mattis affirmed his support for a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam…

Press briefing by Secretary Mattis enroute to PACOM

"You know, I'm -- on the FONOPs, they're freedom of navigation operations. And you'll notice there's only one country [China] that seems to take active steps to rebuff them or state their resentment of them. But it's international waters, and a lot of nations want to see freedom of navigation. So we'll continue that. There had been a promise in 2015 by the -- President Xi, in the Rose Garden -- the White House meeting where he stated they would not be militarizing the Spratly…

Secretary Pompeo's Remarks During State Department Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request - North Korea; Taiwan; China; South China Sea

Secretary Pompeo's Remarks with Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang

"I also raised our concerns about the militarization of the South China Sea. We had a good discussion. We have other important priorities in our relationship with China as well, such as stopping the flow of opioids coming from China into the United States, protecting American intellectual property, and upholding human rights and religious freedom."

Secretary Mattis Press Gaggle in Colorado Springs

"Yeah, we are not ratcheting up anything. In fact, we believe firmly on a stable a Pacific -- we're a Pacific island nation -- excuse me -- a Pacific Ocean nation. Five of our states have coastlines along the Pacific, plus Guam and other American territories. What we are doing is, we are cooperating with China wherever we can, and we are going to have to also confront them when we believe that the rule of law or that matters that can destabilize the region…

[Then CIA Director] Pompeo's Remarks on China and North Korea

“Even while America has reestablished a position of strength in our diplomatic relationship, China continues its concerted and coordinated effort to compete with the United States in diplomatic, military, and economic terms. For years, through IP theft and coercive technology transfer, China has exploited weak U.S. trade policy and leeched wealth and secrets from our economy. Militarily, it continues its provocation in the South and East China Seas, in cyberspace, and even in outer space. This administration is determined to work diplomatically with the Chinese…

Media Availability by Secretary Mattis En Route to Vietnam

"On our way now into Vietnam. And I think that as you look at many of the freedom of navigation issues in the South China Sea, if you look at the geography of the archipelago of Indonesia and then you just go up the map a little ways -- I'm just going to pull your things off of there -- and you look at how here is the South China Sea and you look at Vietnam's coast, you can understand why many of the freedom…

Press Gaggle by Secretary Mattis En Route to Indonesia

"But again, this'll be my first time in Indonesia as the secretary of defense, so I'll be doing a lot of listening. We'll move from there into Vietnam and there, some of the big issues there, just so you're thinking about what you want to ask me about there, freedom of navigation, obviously, in the South China Sea, the respect for international rule of law and respect for national sovereignty. So we share the Pacific. It's an ocean named for peace, we would like to…

Remarks by President Trump on His Trip to Asia

"At the East Asia Summit, the United States negotiated and signed four important leaders’ statements on the use of chemical weapons, money laundering, poverty alleviation, and countering terrorist propaganda and financing. And crucially, at both summits and throughout the trip, we asked all nations to support our campaign of maximum pressure for North Korean denuclearization. And they are responding by cutting trade with North Korea, restricting financial ties to the regime, and expelling North Korean diplomats and workers."