For the first time in almost 20 years, the United States has authorized the release of US$1.5 billion a year for the next 5 years – until 2023 – to allies and friends in the region and help them improve their defense capabilities.
Unlike US President Donald Trump’s controversial wall along the border with Mexico, the legislation went smoothly for the package of security and economic under the 2018 Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA).
Trump signed ARIA into law on the very last day of 2018 amid the longest shutdown in the United States government.
But treaty allies and strategic partners in the region remained unconvinced. Is this for real?
They would rather wait for Washington to take steps to show it is really committed to help address security concerns in this part of the world, including North Korea’s nuclear weapons program in Northeast Asia and the rise of Islamist militancy in Southeast Asia – the two other objectives behind ARIA aside from countering China's aggressiveness.
Read the full article and more on Rappler.