The United States and its Indo-Pacific partners are building a more free, open and connected region, while tackling transnational threats such as COVID-19 and the climate crisis.
“The United States is deeply invested in the Indo-Pacific,” President Biden said at the May 23, 2022, launching of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity. “We’re committed for the long haul, ready to champion our vision for a positive future for the region together with friends and partners.”
Partners in the framework are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The framework is one U.S. initiative launched to advance the administration’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. The strategy affirms the U.S. commitment to its Indo-Pacific partners and sets out a vision for greater U.S. involvement and cooperation in a region that encompasses more than half of the world’s people and nearly two-thirds of the global economy.
Here are some key ways the United States and Indo-Pacific partners work together.
Promoting a free and open region
Fighting corruption: In December, the U.S. honored anti-corruption fighters around the world, including reporters from Malaysia and Bangladesh who exposed corruption and environmental exploitation.
Supporting democracy: Working with international partners, the United States has promoted accountability for the actions of Burma’s military regime, including sanctioning military officials responsible for the February 2021 coup against Burma’s democratically elected government and violence against protesters.
The United States supports the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Five-Point Consensus for returning Burma to a path toward democracy. ASEAN’s members are Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
ASEAN: The U.S. and ASEAN expanded more than 45 years of cooperation, launching the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to advance health, transportation and women’s empowerment while improving the environment and climate and promoting clean energy. The United States provided more than $860 million to ASEAN member states in fiscal year 2022.
Embassies: The U.S. Embassy in the Solomon Islands is reopening, and the U.S. Embassy in Papua New Guinea recently moved to a new facility in Port Moresby. “It is a symbol of our enduring commitment to supporting democracy, prosperity, and security in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu,” Chargé d’Affaires Joe Zadrozny said at a November 17 ceremony in Papua New Guinea.
The Quad: The U.S., Australia, India and Japan have deepened their collaboration under the multilateral grouping known as the Quad. It showcases how democracies working together can deliver benefits to the region.
APEC: In 2023, the United States will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which promotes trade, investment and inclusive and sustainable growth among nations along the Pacific Rim. The theme is “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All.”
Honored to represent @StateDept at the premier U.S.-sponsored business event for the #IndoPacific, and excited to showcase our economic engagement. This region will shape the trajectory of the global economy in the 21st century. Fastest growing on the planet! #IndoPacificBizForum pic.twitter.com/z2JJpMCDvm
— Under Secretary Jose W. Fernandez (@State_E) January 12, 2023
Business forums: The United States and Japan co-hosted the fifth Indo-Pacific Business Forum on January 12 in Tokyo. And in December 2022, the Quad partners held their inaugural Technology Business and Investment Forum in Sydney.
AUKUS: In September 2021, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States launched an enhanced trilateral security partnership called AUKUS. The initiative will strengthen the ability of each to support security and defense interests in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.
Disaster relief: Through a new humanitarian assistance and disaster relief initiative, Quad partners will map the Indo-Pacific’s vulnerabilities to better coordinate responses to disasters throughout the region.
I was pleased to appear virtually at the inaugural Quad Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Tabletop exercise as we further enhance our coordination on crisis preparedness and disaster response with our #IndoPacific Quad partners. https://t.co/b2GF1pMY3j
— Wendy R. Sherman (@DeputySecState) December 14, 2022
Building resilience to transnational threats
COVID-19: The United States has donated more than 245 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to people in the Indo-Pacific, part of the more than 682 million doses the U.S. has delivered worldwide in partnership with COVAX and others. The Quad nations also partnered to increase production of U.S.-developed COVID-19 vaccines in India to expand access to safe and effective vaccines across the Indo-Pacific region.
Climate change: The U.S. government has provided $162 million in climate assistance to the Indo-Pacific to support clean energy and adaptation projects.
As Biden says, “The future of the 21st century economy is going to be largely written in the Indo-Pacific.”
Banner image: The United States is growing its partnerships in the Indo-Pacific. Above, Vice President Harris (third from left) talks with workers who prepare fish in Tagburos, Palawan, Philippines, on November 22, 2022. (© Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times/AP)