Trump Signs Asia Reassurance Initiative Act Into Law

On the final day of 2018, U.S. President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA), which passed the U.S. Senate earlier that month.

The act “establishes a multifaceted U.S. strategy to increase U.S. security, economic interests, and values in the Indo-Pacific region,” according to the White House.

The ARIA Act, specifically, calls for America’s increased engagement in the Indo-Pacific region and strengthened support, including arms sales, for U.S. allies in the region.

The act develops a long-term strategic vision and a comprehensive, multifaceted, and principled United States policy for the Indo-Pacific region.

Key highlights of the Act:

  • Authorizes US$ 1.5 billion annually for 5 years to enhance U.S. presence in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Reaffirms U.S. security commitments to our allies in the Indo-Pacific, including Japan, South Korea, and Australia and builds security partnerships with nations in Southeast Asia.
  • Establishes a policy goal to peacefully denuclearize North Korea through the campaign of maximum pressure and engagement.
  • Enhances the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and security relationship with India.
  • Enforces U.S. freedom of navigation and overflight rights in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Expresses support for regular arms sales to Taiwan and to enhance the economic, political, and security relationship between Taiwan and the United States.
  • Promotes robust cybersecurity cooperation with our allies in the region.
  • Sets U.S. policy to pursue effective arms control and nuclear nonproliferation policies in the Indo-Pacific region.

Economic Engagement:

  • Promotes economic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region as essential for the growth of the U.S. economy and the success of American businesses.
  • Authorizes bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations with Indo-Pacific nations.
  • Provides for robust U.S. commercial presence throughout the Indo-Pacific region to promote U.S. exports and additional trade facilitation efforts.
  • Authorizes the imposition of penalties on entities and governments engaged in the theft of United States intellectual property.
  • Requires a new comprehensive U.S. policy to promote energy exports.

Promoting Values:

  • Provides US$ 150 million annually for 5 years for democracy, rule of law, and civil society support, including $10 million annually for freedom of information efforts in North Korea.
  • Call for additional U.S. efforts against trafficking-in-persons and human slavery; and Authorizes U.S. sanctions against human rights abusers.
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