Trump Signs Asia Reassurance Initiative Act Into Law
U.S. President Donald J. Trump
signed into law the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA) passed the
U.S. Senate earlier that month on the final day of 2018.
The act establishes a multifaceted U.S. strategy to
increase U.S. security, economic interests, and values in the Indo-Pacific
The act authorizes $1.5 billion in new spending for U.S. initiatives in East and Southeast Asia and develop a long-term
strategic vision and a comprehensive, multifaceted, and principled United
States policy for the Indo-Pacific region, and for other purposes.
The ARIA includes multiple provisions and largely supports
the Trump administration’s own National Security Strategy and National Defense
Strategy documents, both of which have identified the Indo-Pacific as a
strategic region of particular priority.
ARIA draws attention to U.S. relations with China, India,
the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),
and Northeast Asian allies Japan and South Korea.
Additionally, the act addresses U.S. policy toward North
Specifically, ARIA calls on the U.S. Secretary of State, in conjunction
with the Secretary of the Treasury, to justify the termination of U.S. support
for any United Nations Security Council resolutions sanctioning North Korea or
the lifting of any unilateral U.S. sanctions on North Korea.
North Korea has made clear that it seeks sanctions relief
from the United States for the limited disarmament gestures it offered in 2018,
including the closure of its one known nuclear testing site and the partial
dismantlement of a test stand for missile engines associated with its
intercontinental-range ballistic missiles capable of striking the United
The ARIA devotes considerable energy to reasserting U.S.
support for Taiwan and calls on the president of the United States to
“encourage the travel of high level United States officials to Taiwan, in
accordance with the Taiwan Travel Act,” which was made law in 2018.
Elsewhere, ARIA devotes attention to the maritime commons in
the Asia and the South China Sea, where it calls on the United States to
support the ASEAN nations as they adopt a code of conduct in the South China
Sea with China.
The law calls for the president to “develop a diplomatic
It includes working with United States allies and partners
to conduct joint maritime training and freedom of navigation operations in the
Indo-Pacific region, including the East China Sea and the South China Sea, in
support of a rules-based international system benefiting all countries.