BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- The United States is open to involving Brunei in the Pacific Partnership in a bid to enhance disaster response preparedness among nations across the Asia-Pacific, a senior U.S. navy officer was quoted as saying by a local report Wednesday.
Commodore Tom Williams of the U.S. Navy said any interested country including the sultanate were invited to participate in the largest multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission conducted annually in the region.
"The Pacific Partnership is very important for anybody who has a concern for natural disasters," he told reporters in a telephonic press briefing Tuesday.
He said that foreign government or navy can contact their U.S. government representative to join future missions, enabling allied and partner nations to conduct disaster response training in the country during the maritime operation.
The Pacific Partnership was formed in response to the December 2004 tsunami that devastated large parts of Southeast Asia.
This year's mission, which kicked off in May, included over 900 military and civilian personnel from 14 countries including ASEAN member states Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam as well as non-governmental organizations.
Over the past 11 years, Commodore Williams said the Pacific Partnership evolved from a direct care mission to an operation focused on enhancing partnerships by taking into account the host nation's needs and through civilian-military exchanges.
"We have tried to make this as much about an exchange of information rather than just providing medical care or humanitarian assistance," he added.