In order to increase support to the Asia-Pacific allies to cope with Beijing’s assertive moves in the South China Sea, a maritime security bill has been proposed by four United States senators together with three members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC).
The “Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative Act of 2016,” is a bill that will help to improve countries’ maritime defense capabilities wherein it prioritize the transfer of excess defense articles to allied nation for them to protect itself against any incoming threats and can react immediately, secure its maritime security and domain awareness in the Asia-Pacific region.
Under the provisions in the bill, countries that would be covered is the nations that share a common goal with the United States like the Philippines and Taiwan.
The bill also authorizes funding and educational training activities in the Asia-Pacific for maritime security and capacity buildings and upgrade the Philippines’ military procurement status to the same level of the U.S.’s closest allies.
The enactment says that the U.S. president “should guarantee that the United States Government treats each proposed arms deals with the same timelines, processes, and procedures, including formal notification to Congress under the Arms Export Control Act concurred to proposed arms exchanges for all different nations.”
The administration also requires to annually “review and report to the appropriate congressional committees on the compliance” of relevant clauses for five years after the enactment of the act.
The method of reasoning given for the proposed enactment is China’s “provocative activities in the South China Sea.”
Senator Ben Cardin a Democrat from Maryland and one of the bill’s sponsors said, “These activities undermine territorial steadiness as well as long-standing U.S. interests in the free-flow of commerce, freedom of navigation, and the peaceful resolution of disputes consistent with international law.”
Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii said, China’s ongoing actions to unilaterally redraw the region’s maritime borders exacerbates the risks of misperceptions and conflict.”
“Our bipartisan legislation helps align our diplomatic and military efforts so that we can continue to work with our partners and allies across the Pacific to strengthen our commitment to regional peace and stability.”
Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado, and Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey are the two other sponsors of the bill, likewise the Senate Foreign Relations Committee member is Cardin, Gardner and Menendez. – Jason E.