United States pledges $300 million in security funding for ASEAN nations

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces $300 mn investments in Asia-Pacific

The 26-page joint communique was issued at the end of a series of meetings at the Singapore Expo, where officials from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also met with key partners from the region, such as Japan and China.

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) strengthen today their links on occasion of the 15th anniversary of the foundation of the strategic association between the parts.

Trump threatened to double tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, while China said it would impose tariffs ranging from 5 to 25 per cent on $60 billion worth of American products.

Wang also noted that China stands ready to share opportunities with ASEAN, jointly meet challenges, and make the bilateral cooperation a pillar of regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.

He said the "single draft COC negotiating text", agreed at high-level talks in June but only announced on Thursday, would serve as the basis for negotiations.

The United States-traditionally the dominant military power in the area-has more frequently carried out patrols aimed at ensuring freedom of navigation.

A draft version seen by Reuters before Asean's meeting with Russian Federation said the bloc would seek to strengthen its cooperation on cybersecurity with Moscow, which the United States has accused of election meddling, by issuing a joint statement of "cooperation in the field of cybersecurity".

The 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) took place in Singapore from July 30 to August 4.

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Indonesian Navy staff participate in a computer-simulated drill in Singapore, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018.

The agreement is the first step in solving various territorial disputes in South China Sea.

Pompeo told reporters he had raised concerns at the meeting about Chinese militarisation of the South China Sea and the importance of maintaining a rules-based order in the region.

Vietnam, for one, has been vocal in expressing concerns over China's transformation of seven disputed reefs into man-made islands, including three with runways, which now resemble small cities armed with weapons systems.

Mr Lee was glad that at a time when trade tensions between the United States and Asean's other dialogue partners including China, the European Union and Canada have escalated, Asean countries and six partners are redoubling efforts to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership this year.

China is willing to further enhance high-level contacts and deepen cooperation with Singapore in important projects and fields within the framework of the China- proposed Belt and Road Initiative so as to speed up the construction of the Southern Transport Corridor and implement the third-party market cooperation, Wang said.

The ASEAN ministers also welcomed rapprochement between North Korea and South Korea and the USA and reaffirmed their commitment "to combat the scourge of violent extremism, radicalization and terrorism".

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