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US, Japan, Australia to invest more to develop Indo-Pacific

By IANS Updated: Nov 17, 2018 10:12 pm

Port Moresby, Nov. 17 (IANS): The US, Japan and Australia will boost infrastructure investment in the developing nations of the Indo-Pacific to counter China’s growing influence in the region, the countries announced in a joint statement on Saturday.

“The Trilateral Partnership intends to consult with governments of Indo-Pacific countries, including Papua New Guinea, to identify infrastructure projects for potential development and financing,” said the statement cited by Efe news.

US Vice-President Mike Pence, Japanese and Australian Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe and Scott Morrison met at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea.

During the summit, which was also attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the three countries also sought private sector partners for implementation of their infrastructure plans in the region, where China has invested heavily in the last few years.

“These announcements, together with the underlying MoU, represent a substantial new commitment from Australia, Japan and the US to the economic development of the Indo-Pacific through principles-based, sustainable investment in infrastructure,” the statement said.

“The Trilateral Partnership intends to work with governments of the Indo-Pacific to support and encourage infrastructure projects that adhere to international standards and principles for development including openness, transparency and fiscal sustainability.

“This approach will help to meet the region’s genuine needs while avoiding unsustainable debt burdens for the nations of the region,” the statement added.

In a speech earlier on Saturday, Pence had slammed China’s opaque cheque book diplomacy of providing soft loans and investments in developing countries to cement its influence.

Pence said infrastructure projects anchored by China in developing countries were of low quality and often led to overwhelming debt.


By IANS Updated: Nov 17, 2018 10:12:53 pm