U.S. foreign policy and policing of Asia has helped its economic miracle, Senator Marco Rubio told CNBC on his first trip to the Asian Pacific region.
"I think it's important to remind everyone that much of the progress that's been made economically in the region is directly attributable to the U.S. security arrangement that's created the stability in the region that has allowed the free flow of commerce and information," the Republican U.S. senator from the state of Florida told CNBC.
Rubio is travelling throughout the region to raise his profile and burnish his foreign policy credentials for a possible run at the White House. While giving the U.S. credit for Asia's development may raise eyebrows in the region, Rubio's interpretation of the U.S. role was "probably about right in terms of providing a foundation for stable growth in north-east Asia," said Tony Nash, vice-president at consultancy IHS.
"It did in the post (World War II) era provide stable growth," enabling the next phase of development from agriculture to manufacturing, he added. But from there "obviously, they've taken over on their own. The initial political stability has been less of a factor."
However south-east Asia is a bit of a different story," Nash added, noting that the U.S. hasn't really had a security presence in the region.
"Southeast Asia is also a lot of former colonies and over that period, they've done a lot of work to develop their own identities and their own political structures," Nash said.
Rubio's tour of Asia is set to include Japan, South Korea and the Philippines; he is not expected to visit Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos, countries that were caught up in U.S.-led military actions during the 1960s and 1970s.
"This is a critical part of the world," Rubio told CNBC. "The rebalanced Asia is a bipartisan concept and one we look forward to building on."