Singapore/Washington: ‘The United States has declared an additional aid of $ 300 million with the intention to fulfil its promise of strengthening the security at the regional level in the Indo-Pacific region. We are confident that the United States’ defence cooperation will strengthen further with this aid in the Indo-Pacific region,’ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured to make the defence cooperation with the ASEAN countries more comprehensive. This declaration by the US Secretary of State is said to be made with the objective of countering the increasing Chinese influence in this region.
ASEAN meetings are being held in Singapore and on Friday a ministerial meeting was held between ASEAN and the United States. Militarization of the South China Sea by China and abiding by the international laws and rules, were the topics of discussion in the meeting. At this time, US Secretary of State Pompeo apprised the people present that President Donald Trump has focused upon the economic development in his Indo-Pacific policy. The additional financial aid has been provided to stress upon the defence cooperation which is a part of the policy, declared the US Secretary of State.
‘This financial aid will promote the issues that have been prioritised by the United States in the Indo-Pacific region. Emphasis will be given on developing the necessary capabilities for carrying out humanitarian aid campaigns and peace missions along with the security of the marine region,’ said Pompeo. At this point, Pompeo reminded that the United States is a Pacific country and ASEAN is at the core of the Indo-Pacific policies of the United States.
The United States Department of State had announced financial aid of $ 110 million to the Indo-Pacific region before reaching Singapore. By announcing a further aid of $ 300 million, the United States has indicated that it is not going to be conservative about the Indo-Pacific region. These announcements by the United States to provide financial aid when China is investing billions of dollars in the Indo-Pacific region are considered highly significant.
Before the United States-ASEAN meeting, China also met with the ASEAN countries and put forward proposals of war exercises and oil exploration. Just before this meeting by China, the information that the ambitious Chinese Project One Belt One Road was receiving jolts from the Asian countries was put forth. Against this background, large-scale aid and investments in the Indo-Pacific region by the United States, Japan and Australia will pose a challenge to the Chinese influence in this region.