US to expand maritime assistance to Vietnam with $20 million fund

Thanh Nien News

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The US has pledged to allocate nearly US$20 million in its bilateral assistance funds for developing Southeast Asian maritime capabilities to Vietnam.
Washington will take a series of measures to help Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, to increase their maritime security capacity, according to a White House release on Tuesday.
It said Washington is supporting its allies and partners to respond to threats in waters off their coasts and to provide maritime security more broadly across the region.
As for Vietnam, it will increase maritime program assistance to US$19.6 million in fiscal year 2015, which began in October, and the aid will expand to $20.5 million in fiscal year 2016.
The program will bolster its maritime Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and command and control within Vietnam’s maritime agencies.
The White House said Washington will lift the ban on sales of maritime-related lethal capabilities to allow development of Vietnam’s maritime capacity and encourage interoperability with other regional forces.
It will also expand bilateral training and exercises, focusing on disaster relief and humanitarian issues.
The aid package that the US committed for four Southeast Asian countries, namely the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, is worth $119 million in fiscal year 2015 and $140 million in fiscal year 2016.
The Philippines remains the largest recipient of maritime security assistance, with a record $79 million in fiscal year 2015.

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