Stories

A "new language" for Asia: the Indo-Pacific

Sec. of State Tillerson and Indian P.M. Modi. Photo: Alex Brandon, Pool via AP

I asked Richard McGregor, the longtime Asia correspondent and former Financial Times bureau chief, to read between the lines of the Trump administration's revealing decision to rename the "Asia-Pacific" as the "Indo-Pacific."

McGregor emailed:

The U.S. is now entrenching new language for America's role in the Asia. It is now officially the Indo-Pacific, not the Asia-Pacific. That attempts to bring India permanently into the U.S. web of alliances and partnerships in the region. And it is the precursor to the new partnership — "the quad" — which will bring together the U.S., Japan, India and Australia. Abe tried this in 2007 in his first term. A decade later, it is real. The first meeting will be soon.

The U.S. and the Japanese militaries have long been deeply integrated in the region. But the partnership is deepening, driven both by the DPRK in the short-term and China in the longer term. The big change is: Japan under Abe is slowly unshackling itself from the postwar constraints on its military, allowing it to do more with the U.S.