Monday, April 18, 2016

The Philippines at Forefront of New Pentagon Maritime Security Initiative

The Pentagon recently began funding maritime security projects with countries in the South China Sea aimed at giving them the capability to monitor activities in their territorial waters and air space amidst concerns of regional Chinese expansion.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the department recently released funding under the Maritime Security Initiative, which totals $425 million total over five years. Nearly 85 percent of this year’s funding, about $42 million of $50 million total, will go to the Philippines, where Carter was last week in announcing several steps being taken to bring the two nations closer together.
During a press conference, Carter said that China’s actions in the South China Sea are causing anxiety among regional partners and said the projects within the Maritime Security Initiative are meant to boost individual countries’ capabilities and improve overall regional security.
“Countries across the Asia-Pacific are voicing concern with China’s land reclamation, which stands out in size and scope, as well as its militarization in the South China Sea,” he said.
“They’re voicing those concerns publicly and privately, at the highest levels, in regional meetings and also in global fora. And many of those countries, both longstanding allies and new partners are reaching out anew to the United States to uphold the rules and principles that have allowed the region to thrive for some many decades. more