Why Indo-Pacific? Why now?

Between 2 oceans: Why Trump uses the term Indo-Pacific rather than Asia-Pacific

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says America's "Indo-Pacific vision excludes no nation. We seek to work with anyone to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, so long as that cooperation adheres to the highest standards our citizens demand". Australi
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Singapore this month. She has told Asean leaders that "Asean sits at the heart of the Indo-Pacific... Its centrality to the region's architecture is uncontested".ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says America's "Indo-Pacific vision excludes no nation. We seek to work with anyone to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, so long as that cooperation adheres to the highest standards our citizens demand". Australi
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says America's "Indo-Pacific vision excludes no nation. We seek to work with anyone to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, so long as that cooperation adheres to the highest standards our citizens demand".ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Several reasons lie behind the embrace of an Indo-Pacific rather than an Asia-Pacific by Trump and others. Insight examines them and traces the rise of the term.

The United States used to call this part of the world by a different name: the Asia-Pacific.

But in the realm of diplomacy, the region has since been renamed the Indo-Pacific, with the Trump administration conscientiously beating the drum for its strategic vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific since President Donald Trump's tour of the region last November.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 12, 2018, with the headline 'Between two oceans'. Print Edition | Subscribe