US to extend $250-M military aid to allies in Southeast Asia

US President Barack Obama during arrival ceremonies Nov. 17, 2015 at the airport.

The United States will contribute more than a quarter of a billion dollars to its allies in Southeast Asia to enhance regional maritime security, the White House said in a press release on Tuesday.

“Committing USD119 million in Fiscal Year 2015 to develop Southeast Asian maritime capabilities and will seek to provide USD140 million in assistance during FY 2016 subject to appropriation, totaling more than USD250 million over two years,” the release said.

The United States, the release added, is seeking to enhance the maritime security capacity of partners to respond to threats off the coasts and in the region.

The White House announcement comes amid increasing tensions between the United States and China over US naval patrols in the South China Sea.

On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama arrived in the Philippines to take part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting scheduled for Nov. 18-19.

Meanwhile on the same day, US President Barack Obama said that the United States will give two ships to the Philippine Navy to boost maritime security capabilities. A strong signal of American support for its allies under seige by mainland China’s aggressive West Philippine sea island building.

Obama articulated his country’s support while in front of BRP Gregorio del Pilar, formerly a US-owned frigate now commissioned for the Philippine Navy.

The ships the US president were referring to include one US Coast Guard cutter and one research vessel.


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