Donald Trump has found a way to address the increasing competition between the United States and China for leadership in the Asia Pacific region - eliminate the concept of an Asia Pacific region.

In his 12-day trip to Asia the US President has managed dropped the term Asia-Pacific altogether.

He made no mention of it in the keynote speech to a CEO Summit at Apec in Vietnam - Apec standing for Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation.

The only region Trump recognised in his speeches anywhere on this trip was one he repeatedly called the "Indo Pacific region," which by definition stretches from the west coast of the United States across the Indian Ocean to the east coast of India.


Trump has signed up some support from allies in the region: Australia's Malcolm Turnbull and Japan's Shinzo Abe have both begun using the term Indo Pacific, although not the same extent as Trump.

South Korea's Moon Jae-in reportedly wants to stick with Asia Pacific.

New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern is sticking with Asia-Pacific, as is the likely target of this less than subtle geopolitical manoeuvre.

China's president, Xi Jinping, who followed Trump as keynote speaker to Apec CEOs, littered his speech with references to the Asia Pacific.

The Indo Pacific is not a new term, but it has not been a widely used term.

It eliminates any inherent reference to China.

Trump has another platform on which to promote the new region today when he speaks at the 50th Asean summit in Manila.

When Apec began in 1989, as the brainchild of Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, the Asia-Pacific was not a widely accepted concept. But in the 28 ensuing years, it has become so with the ease of travel, communications and doing business.


It was certainly a term and a region embraced by Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.

Whether Trump's move will catch on remains to be seen. Certainly there is no move to change the name of Apec to Ipec.