News analysis

US takes concrete steps to engage Indo-Pacific region

Senate passes Act to fund diplomatic, military, economic activities in Asia

An Act that is seen as a significant indication of bipartisan support for deepening US engagement in the Indo-Pacific region is quietly making its way through Congress amid Washington's daily diet of political drama.

The Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (Aria), which was passed by the Senate last Tuesday, is being closely watched by the Asia policy community and Asian diplomats. The House is due to vote on it within days. The legislation, in effect, lays down a policy framework to support the US' commitment to a "free and open Indo-Pacific region and the rules-based international order", according to Republican Senator Cory Gardner, who sponsored the Bill.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2018, with the headline 'US takes concrete steps to engage Indo-Pacific region'. Print Edition | Subscribe