Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the Asia-Pacific Strategic Engagement Initiative (APSEI) on July 12 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. APSEI is a new integrated assistance framework that engages on current pressing bilateral and transnational issues, and positions the United States and its partners to sustain regional stability and support an inclusive regional economy in our shared future.
As part of our efforts to deepen engagement on pressing bilateral and transnational issues, and as a demonstration of our commitment to APSEI, Secretary Clinton announced that the United States will provide $50 million over three years in new assistance programs for “Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) 2020.” This program is designed to build regional capacity and foster collaboration to address transnational challenges. Programs under “LMI 2020” will support an LMI coordination hub, women’s leadership network, control and prevention of malaria, increased support for the Mekong River Commission, and new funding for environmental and connectivity programs.
APSEI focuses U.S. assistance to advance six pillars:
• Regional Security Cooperation: Deepen bilateral security partnerships, build security forces’ capacity, and expand confidence-building measures and preventative diplomacy mechanisms to advance stability in the region.
• Economic Integration and Trade: Enhance our engagement with key multilateral institutions through an ambitious economic integration agenda aimed at tapping the efficiencies of a larger market and unlocking new sources of prosperity for the United States.
• Engagement in the Lower Mekong Region: Invigorate our engagement in the Lower Mekong region through increased support and new development programs for the LMI.
• Address Transnational Threats: Support regional platforms for sharing of information to enable transparent and accountable decision-making on transnational challenges.
• Democratic Development: Leverage regional and bilateral platforms to advance the development of robust democratic institutions, with a primary focus on advancing reforms in Burma.
• Address War Legacies: Help partner countries overcome lingering challenges threatening sustainable development by undertaking Agent Orange/dioxin remediation and humanitarian efforts to reduce the effects of unexploded ordnance.