ASEAN top officials, preparing a Monday conference between the foreign ministers of the Association in Brunei, discuss the signing of a security agreement with the USA to expand counter-terrorist cooperation in the region.
According to this agreement, ASEAN can get extra financial and technical assistance from Washington, including the exchange of intelligence information and personnel training.
Some analysts regard South-East Asia as the second front of anti-terrorist fight and recollect permanent military actions in the Philippines against Abu Sayyaf Muslim rebels and arrests of Al-Qaeda affiliated extremist groups in Malaysia and Singapore, which masterminded a series of terrorist acts against foreign diplomatic missions in the region.
Some ASEAN members believe that the signing of the agreement with the USA will consolidate regional security, others doubt in the positive effect of this agreement. For instance, Indonesia and Vietnam apprehend the danger of deployment of a greater number of US troops in ASEAN countries.