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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Pinned Posts

Palau Independence Day

"On behalf of the Government of the United States and the American people, I congratulate the government and the citizens of Palau as you mark your 26th Independence Day.

The close friendship between our two countries remains firmly rooted in a foundation of respect for democratic principles, human rights, and the underlying fundamental freedoms to which all are entitled. While October 1st marks the beginning of Palau’s 26th year of independence, the ties between our two countries have a much deeper shared history.

The bond…

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Papua New Guinea Independence Day

"On behalf of the United States Government and the American people, I extend congratulations to the people of Papua New Guinea as you raise your flag at Independence Hill on the 45th anniversary of your independence.

This is a day to celebrate your rich history, and I am proud to greet you on this important occasion in recognition of our close partnership, mutual respect, and common values. Even as both our nations confront COVID-19 in this region and worldwide, I look forward to deepening our…

Secretary of Defense Remarks for the Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II

"Today, in the face of new challenges to this free and open order, we are working to build an even broader coalition of partners – one that includes both longtime friends and former adversaries – to protect the hard-fought gains of generations past and present…especially in the Pacific. We share an important goal – defending the sacred principles that benefit us all: democracy, liberty, sovereignty, human rights, mutual respect, and the rule of law.

To do so, we continue to forge new partnerships and…

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…

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 Esper's Remarks at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies 25th Anniversary Speaker Event

Readout of Secretary Esper’s Phone Call With Timor-Leste's Minister of Defense Filomeno da Paixão de Jesus

"Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper spoke with his Timor-Leste counterpart, Minister of Defense Filomeno da Paixão de Jesus. Both leaders offered sympathies to those affected by COVID-19 in the United States and Timor-Leste. Secretary Esper commended Timor-Leste’s success in controlling the spread of COVID-19, and Minister Filomeno conveyed Timor-Leste’s gratitude to the United States for allocating $2.4 million in COVID-19 relief funding. Secretary Esper and Minister Filomeno also discussed bilateral defense priorities, including military exercises, security cooperation funding for Baucau Airport, and Timor-Leste’s…

Vanuatu National Day

"On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I offer best wishes as you celebrate your National Day on July 30.

For forty years, the United States and the Republic of Vanuatu have worked together to advance shared priorities that include maritime security, good governance, and strong people-to-people relations. There is no greater testament to our friendship than the 863 Peace Corps volunteers who have made Vanuatu their home over the last thirty years.

As your nation marks its 40th year of…

IISS Special Presentation with Secretary Esper - US Indo-Pacific Policy

Kiribati National Day

"On behalf of the Government of the United States, I congratulate the people of Kiribati as you celebrate your National Day on July 12.

The hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic have proven a challenge for us all. As we adapt to a changed world and shape its future for the better, we look forward to working with partners such as Kiribati that have long shared our core values of democracy, human rights, and respect for all. Our 1983 Treaty of Friendship, which dates to the…

Solomon Islands National Day 

"On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I congratulate the people of Solomon Islands as you celebrate your National Day on July 7.

While the COVID-19 pandemic means the commemorations will be different this year, the United States looks forward to beginning another year of friendship with Solomon Islands. Our partnership continues to grow as we engage in more cultural and professional exchanges, expand our security cooperation, and execute on our development assistance commitments. The announcement late last year of the…

Secretary Esper's Op-Ed in "The Straits Times" on US Indo-Pacific Policy

"As an Indo-Pacific nation, the United States is committed to ensuring the region remains free and open for all, and upholding the rules and norms that have secured prosperity for nations of all sizes.

In the year since the Department of Defence released the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, we have made great strides across the three pillars of our strategy: preparedness, strengthening partnerships, and promoting a more networked region - but there is still much more work to be done.

First, under preparedness, we are prioritising…

Samoa Independence Day

"On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I send my best wishes to the people of Samoa as you celebrate your Independence Day on June 1.

The United States and the Independent State of Samoa remain close and enduring partners in the Pacific. Our two countries support shared values of democracy, freedom, rule of law, and prosperity. Samoa has endured a difficult year marked by the deadly measles epidemic, and now the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States and Samoa worked together…