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Indo-Pacific

U.S. counters China with new Indo-Pacific framework

Japan has key role to play in moderating push to decouple from Beijing

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia on Dec. 15.    © Reuters

TOKYO -- As the U.S. works on a new Indo-Pacific initiative to fill the economic void left by its exit from the former Trans-Pacific Partnership, countries worried about the widening rift between Washington and China are counting on Japan to help steer the effort.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai embarked on Asian tours in November to sell the planned "Indo-Pacific economic framework." Secretary of State Antony Blinken laid groundwork as well during his visit to Southeast Asia this month, though he cut the trip short when a journalist in his delegation tested positive for COVID-19.

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