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.


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Secretary Esper's Phone Call With Indonesian Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto

"Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper spoke with his Indonesian counterpart, Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto, on the phone today to discuss COVID-19. Both leaders offered sympathies to those affected by COVID-19 in the United States and in Indonesia. Secretary Esper thanked Minister Prabowo and his government for their leadership in responding to COVID-19 and asked how else the United States might help. Minister Prabowo conveyed his government's gratitude to the United States for its first tranche of support to Indonesia, including $2.3 million…

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Readout of Secretary Esper's Phone Call With Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh

"Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper spoke with his Indian counterpart, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh, over the phone today. During the call, the two leaders discussed bilateral defense priorities, including ongoing regional cooperation and initiatives to enhance military-to-military engagement and defense trade. They also discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and underscored their commitment to close communication during this period in order to maintain momentum on initiatives that reinforce our comprehensive global partnership. Secretary Esper expressed his appreciation for India's leadership in coordinating COVID-19 related…

Secretary Esper's Remarks During Pentagon Year 2021 Budget Hearing - China and US Indo-Pacific Force Posture

Readout of Secretary Esper’s Telephone Call with the People’s Republic of China’s Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe

"Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper spoke by phone with the People’s Republic of China Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe on March 3, 2020. Secretary Esper used the call to advance a constructive, stable, and results-oriented defense relationship between the United States and China.

Dr. Esper shared with Minister Wei recent developments towards achieving sustainable peace in Afghanistan and the importance of the United States and China continuing cooperation and dialogue to advance shared interests of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.


Secretary Esper Media Roundtable - China

"Q: On Huawei, you made a very impassioned case downstairs earlier on in this case. It looks like, from everything that we can see from our German colleagues here that Germany is trying to move its way to something close to what Britain decided a few weeks ago, which is keep Huawei on the periphery but not in the core.

Is that an acceptable position, to your mind?

SEC. ESPER: I don't know because I haven't studied their position and what it means…

Secretary Esper's Remarks at the Munich Security Conference - China

"Being in Europe, I know that there has been much discussion about the challenges from Russia, so this morning I want to focus on the Pentagon’s top concern: the People’s Republic of China.

Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of a decision that fundamentally altered the course of international affairs: China’s admission into the World Trade Organization.

I was working in the United States Senate at the time, and two competing arguments over China’s membership dominated the public debate.

The prevailing…

Remarks by Secretary Esper en Route to Europe - Philippines and China

"Q: (inaudible) Can you update us on the latest with the – the VFA1? I know Duterte is giving the U.S. one hundred and eighty days’ notice to pull out, and what does that mean for the NDS? Because that's a place where we were fighting in the war against China and the war for -- for international waterways and whatnot.

SEC. ESPER: Yeah, so we just got the notification late last night. We have to digest it. We have to work through the policy…

Secretary Esper's Remarks at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) - China

Secretary of Defense Esper and Minister of Defense Lorenzo Guerini of Italy Joint Press Briefing - China

"Q (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): [...] And, Secretary Esper, have you reaffirmed the concerns of your administration for the implementation of the 5G plan in Italy, also on the basis of the decisions taken by London, which have not been preceded in Washington? [...]

SEC. ESPER: Regarding your question on 5G, the United States remains very concerned about Chinese technology in our networks, specifically Huawei. The concern I've expressed to our allies on multiple occasions, particularly during my visits to NATO defense ministerials in -- in Brussels, was…

Secretary Esper's Remarks at the CSIS Global Security Forum - China, North Korea, and Alliances in the Indo-Pacific

Readout from Secretary Esper's Minister with New Zealand Minister of Defence Ron Mark

"Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper met today with New Zealand Minister of Defence Ron Mark at the Pentagon.

Secretary Esper and Minister Mark discussed bilateral defense relations and reviewed pressing regional and global security issues. The meeting reinforced the close relationship between New Zealand and the United States, one of our closest and most reliable partners.

Secretary Esper and Minister Mark committed to continued close cooperation and collaboration on a wide range of defense and security priorities."