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.; former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

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Readout of Secretary Esper's Phone Call With President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka

"Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper spoke with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the phone today. During the call, Secretary Esper congratulated the President on his successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent conclusion of parliamentary elections, and urged continued progress on reconciliation and human rights in Sri Lanka. The two leaders discussed their shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that ensures the sovereignty of all nations. Reviewing common bilateral defense priorities, they noted opportunities to enhance military professionalization…

Readout of Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper's Virtual Meeting With the Singapore Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen

"On August 30, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper met virtually with his Singapore counterpart, Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen to discuss the U.S.-Singapore bilateral defense relationship. Secretary Esper expressed solidarity with Singapore's efforts to address the COVID-19 outbreak and applauded Singapore's success in its pandemic response. Secretary Esper expressed appreciation for the regional access that Singapore provides U.S. forces, and its commitment to continued access made possible by renewal of the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding Regarding United States Use of Facilities in Singapore…

Readout of Secretary Esper's Meeting With Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono

"On August 29, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper hosted Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono in Guam, where they reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-Japan Alliance and discussed ways to deepen and expand bilateral defense cooperation.

Secretary Esper and Minister Kono exchanged views on their shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The Secretary expressed serious concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong, as well as coercive and destabilizing actions vis-à-vis Taiwan. Both Ministers restated their commitment…

On the Resignation of Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe

"The United States deeply values the enduring contributions of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in making the U.S.-Japan relationship the strongest it has ever been. He championed our Alliance as a cornerstone of peace and security, and he advanced a free and open Indo-Pacific by working with the United States to build a network of partnerships across the region. We thank him for his many years of dedicated service and wish him a speedy and complete recovery."

Malaysia Independence Day

"On behalf of the United States Government and the American people, I congratulate the people of Malaysia as you celebrate your Independence Day.

The strong partnership between the United States and Malaysia allows us to better face new challenges and pursue new opportunities for our citizens. Building on our robust economic, security, and people-to-people ties, we continue to make progress on our shared goal of promoting a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific. We look forward to another year of advancement in the relations between our two…

Secretary Esper's Meeting With the President of the Republic of Palau and Other Members of his Cabinet

"Today, Secretary Mark T. Esper became the first Secretary of Defense to visit Palau. Secretary Esper met with the President of the Republic of Palau and other members of his Cabinet. The two leaders reinforced the importance of the Compact of Free Association and exchanged views on current regional security issues and concerns. Secretary Esper and President Remengesau emphasized their support for the ongoing negotiations to extend the Compact, and they expressed a desire for continued progress and a swift conclusion of the talks. Both…

Op-Ed by Commerce Secretary Ross on U.S. Trade Policy - South Korea and China

"The United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement, known as KORUS, has also been revitalized. KORUS will reduce the trade deficit and strengthen our economic and national security relationship.

The U.S.-China Phase One Trade Agreement will boost our exports, decrease our trade deficit, and will be strictly enforced for the benefit of American workers, farmers, and businesses.

To further protect U.S. national security and defend American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade, the Trump Administration has greatly enhanced trade enforcement efforts. We have initiated twice as…

Readout of Secretary Esper's Call With Papua New Guinea Minister for Defense Saki Soloma

"On August 26, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper spoke with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Minister for Defense, Saki Soloma; a historic first call between the defense counterparts. Secretary Esper and Minister Soloma spoke to the importance of upholding international rules and norms and their commitment to defending a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Both leaders reinforced the strength of the bilateral relationship and discussed pressing regional security issues. The principals concluded the conversation by reaffirming their commitment to future cooperation and collaboration in…

Secretary Ross' Comments on Fox Business Concerning China

Commerce Department Adds 24 Chinese Companies to the Entity List for Helping Build Military Islands in the South China Sea

"The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in the Department of Commerce (Commerce) added 24 Chinese companies to the Entity List for their role in helping the Chinese military construct and militarize the internationally condemned artificial islands in the South China Sea. Despite protests from the United States and other countries, the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been rapidly building the artificial islands since 2013, enabling the Communist Chinese Party’s (CCP) militarization of disputed outposts in the South China Sea to…