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Trump's Asian Visit

Trump buys into 'Indo-Pacific' plan but it lacks BRI coherence

US leader hints at his backing for an India-Japan alternative to Xi's vision

| China
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi pose for a photo during the India-Japan Annual Summit, in Gandhinagar, India, in September.   © Reuters

It was not geographical illiteracy that led U.S. President Donald Trump to refer repeatedly to the "Indo-Pacific" region when he journeyed recently through what is generally known as the Asia-Pacific area. Nor was it simply a desire to put an increasingly domineering and expansive China in its place.

The U.S. leader's use of the term "Indo-Pacific" signaled that he has signed on to the plan by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, or AAGC. Like Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative, the AAGC has geostrategic as well as economic significance -- and that appeals to Trump.

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