US pledges $300 million in security funding for ASEAN nations

Dian Septiari

The Jakarta Post


Jakarta   /  Sat, August 4, 2018  /  01:14 pm

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) shares a light moment with Andrew Kim, the head of the CIA's Korea Mission Center, during a break from meetings with Kim Yong Chol, a North Korean senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang on July 7.(Agence France -Presse/Andrew Harnik/Pool)

The United States has pledged to disburse US$300 million to Southeast Asian countries to enhance security in the ASEAN region.

“The United States is excited to announce 300 million dollars of new funding to reinforce security cooperation throughout the entire region,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a press briefing on the sidelines of the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Singapore.

“This new security assistance will advance our priorities, especially strengthen maritime security, develop humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping capabilities,” he said.

The US and China are competing for influence in Indo-Pacific, a term that gained ground when US President Donald Trump used it on his tour of Asia last year.

During the ASEAN-US meeting on Friday, Pompeo underlined Trump's commitment to the Indo-Pacific strategy as a major engine for economic growth.

Indonesia is expected to table a detailed proposal on the Indo Pacific regional architecture at the East Asia Summit Ministerial Meeting, emphasizing ASEAN centrality and inclusiveness.

Indonesia had been circulating a detailed document on Indonesian the perspective, which derived from the basic ideas Indonesia had introduced, “an open, transparent and inclusive Indo-Pacific regional architecture based on international law".

With the region being home to some of the world’s largest economies, the US, China, Japan, India and Indonesia, Indo-Pacific cooperation could combine a total gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$43 trillion. (ahw)