In Singapore, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has offered the Trump administration’s support for Southeast Asia’s digital and urban infrastructure development. In his remarks at the U.S. ASEAN Summit, Pence announced the new “U.S.-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership.” “This effort will spur renewed American investment in the region’s digital infrastructure, advancing prosperity and security in Southeast Asia,” Pence said, adding that it will enhance Washington’s cooperation on cybersecurity with the regional bloc.

The United States is still seen by the region as a leader in innovation and a natural partner in the smart cities initiative. “The most advanced technologies do come from the U.S.,” said Lim Tai Wei, senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore. ASEAN countries would like to know how “they can work with American companies and partners in order to strengthen ASEAN’s position as a network of smart cities,” he said.