US pledges nearly US$300m security funding for Southeast Asia

05 August, 2018, 02:12 | Author: Kim Reid
  • US Secretary of State Pompeo calls on Dr Mahathir

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho arrived in Singapore on Friday morning for an ASEAN-related meeting due to take place later this week, with all eyes on whether he will contact USA officials while in the city-state.

At their meeting, Wang also called for South Korea's efforts to "completely" resolve the issue of an advanced USA missile defense system deployed on the peninsula.

"As part of our commitment to advancing regional security in the Indo-Pacific, the United States is excited to announce almost US$300 million in new funding to reinforce security cooperation throughout the entire region", Pompeo said.

"The past progress has shown that China and ASEAN countries have the ability to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea and have the wisdom to arrive at a set of regional rules of conduct that we all will observe", Wang told reporters.

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This year's meetings take place amid trade tensions and geopolitical uncertainty.

Maritime disputes are one of the key agenda items at the Asean meeting. This pledge from the United States comes at a time when the Indo-Pacific tirade between the USA and China has intensified.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha expressed fears about the negative impact of recent USA trade restrictions, while Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi indicated that Beijing will continue to fight the trade war initiated by Washington.

The use of "Indo-Pacific" has grown among diplomats from Japan, Australia, India and the United States in recent years, a shorthand for a democratic-led region, as opposed to an "Asia-Pacific" with China at its centre.

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"Its centrality to the region's architecture is uncontested", Ms Bishop added.

At a press conference after the China-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting, the Chinese top diplomat said the biggest achievement made at the meeting is that the China-ASEAN relations have developed from growth to maturity, thus entering a new era of all-round development. "We remain committed to promoting Asean's primacy in the regional architecture".

Despite not being reported to have visited the country this year, KCNA stated that Ri met with Iranian counterparts during a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) ministerial meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan in April.

For his part, Lee said Singapore upholds multilateralism, supports the Belt and Road Initiative and stands ready to work with China to push forward major projects including the Southern Transport Corridor and the third-party market cooperation.

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These span a range of areas including terrorism, cyber security, climate change, irregular migrants and maritime matters.

Mr Pompeo also called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The meeting took place as ASEAN foreign ministers gather in Singapore for a regional meeting.

He will call on Indonesian President Joko Widodo tomorrow.

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