US spending spree for SE Asia

The Pentagon has begun implementing a new capacity-building program for states around the South China Sea.

US Kicks Off New Maritime Security Initiative for Southeast Asia

By Prashanth Parameswaran

The United States has started implementing the Pentagon’s new maritime capacity-building initiative for Southeast Asian states near the South China Sea, initially announced last June following congressional approval, U.S. officials have confirmed.

After a customary a two-week congressional notification period, U.S. officials have released the first year of funds for the five-year, $425 million dollar Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative (MSI), which involves five main ASEAN states – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – along with Singapore, Brunei and Taiwan, and aims to improve the ability of these countries to address a range of maritime challenges, including China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea (See: “America’s New Maritime Security Initiative for Southeast Asia”).

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