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Top US official defends use of the term ‘Indo-Pacific’

It is a region more and more integrated economically, HR McMaster said, adding, “It makes sense in terms of the construct to look at it as a regional perspective.”

world Updated: Nov 08, 2017 21:29 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
HR McMaster,Indo-Pacific,quadrilateral alliance
US President Donald Trump with National Security Advisor HR McMaster.(AFP)

One of the top US administration officials has defended the use of the term “Indo-Pacific”, saying that it makes sense as it denotes a regional perspective.

National security advisor HR McMaster told China’s national broadcaster CCTV that it also means economic integration.

“If you just look at the geography and trade routes, the trade flows east and west across the Indo-Pacific region. As you can see, it is a region more and more integrated economically,” McMaster said. “It makes sense in terms of the construct to look at it as a regional perspective,” he added.

“There are other ways to look at it, as the Eurasian landmass and so forth, because of this trip, because the president will be engaging leaders across the Indo-Pacific region, it is a useful construct,” the US official added.

China has so far avoided wading into the question on naming the region Indo-Pacific.

“We have indeed noted that recently this concept has been mentioned many times. I think that whatever concept or term is employed, we must by no means lose sight of such an objective fact: this region has grown into the most vibrant region with the greatest potential in the world and serves as a major engine for global economic growth,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had said on Tuesday.

She, in fact, used the term “Asia-Pacific” while responding to the question that specifically mentioned “Indo-Pacific”.

“Maintaining the peace, stability and prosperity of this region is of great significance to the whole world. We hope that the Asia-Pacific region can become a stable, prosperous and orderly region where consensus can be reached through consultation and where we are capable of managing differences and have the wisdom to resolve the disputes,” she said.

Earlier this week, the ministry had said that collaboration between “relevant countries” should be conducive to regional peace, without directly naming the US, Japan, Australia and India, amid reports of a possible ‘quadrilateral alliance’ of these countries.

“We hope the collaboration among relevant countries could comply with the trend of times, which refers to peace, development, and cooperation and shared benefits, and also conform to the prospects of the regions and nations for common security and development,” the ministry had said.

"We hope it would be beneficial for improving the mutual trust among countries and regions, at the same time safeguarding and promoting peace, tranquillity, and prosperity within the area, without targeting or damaging a third party's interest," it added.

First Published: Nov 08, 2017 21:01 IST