U.S. growing military presence in Asia-Pacific not favorable for regional stability

Source: XinhuaEditor: Zhang Tao
2015-11-13 18:09

BEIJING, Nov. 12 (ChinaMil) -- The U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said on November 7, local time, that the U.S. is shifting its strategic focus to the Asian-Pacific region.

He expressed that the U.S. military will send "the most advanced and sophisticated" weapon and warships to that region and increase investment in such areas as outer space, cyber space, missile defense and electronic warfare, in a bid to cope with China's relevant activities.

What Carter said once again denoted the two-sidedness of America's China policy and indicated how torn the American decision makers are when selecting a policy to deal with China's rise.

On the one hand, having realized that "no matter how militarily and economically strong it is, the U.S. cannot solve all problems in the world by itself", it has publicly announced that it welcomes a powerful, peaceful and prosperous China and hopes to maintain strong cooperation with China to "cope with various global challenges".

On the other hand, it stays alert against China and tries to contain it in terms of security, military, economy and diplomacy, so as to maintain its global domination.

This conflicting mindset is especially reflected by its adjustment and use of military forces in the Asia-Pacific region.

The U.S. military released the new maritime strategy in March and the Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy in August this year, which illustrated America's security strategy in that region from different perspectives, and proposed to intensify its military deployments there, focusing on keeping a watch on China and containing it, so as to guarantee its own dominance in regional and global affairs.

On military deployments, the U.S. military replaced its USS George Washington aircraft carrier in Japan with USS Ronald Reagan and deployed the fourth attack submarine in front of Guam in 2015.

In 2017, it will deploy F-35 warplanes to the Iwakuni base in Japan for the first time and four littoral combat ships in Singapore alternatively.

In 2020, it will deploy the latest amphibious assault ship USS America, which boasts strong air defense capability, in the Asia Pacific, and may dispatch the Third Fleet currently stationed in the East Pacific to the West Pacific for "forward operations".

On military exercises, the U.S. military has strengthened all kinds of exercises with its allies in the Asia Pacific region, including the so-called "island seizing and landing" exercises with Japan.

According to the Asia Pacific Maritime Security Strategy issued by the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. military held more than 400 joint training exercises of various kinds with the Philippine military in 2015 alone.

China and other Asian countries welcome America's adjustment of its global strategy and shifting its strategic focus to the Asia Pacific as long as that's conducive to the peace, stability and prosperity of this region.

The question is what the America's returning to the Asia-Pacific strategy has brought to this region? At present, the U.S. has deployed 368,000 military personnel in the Asia Pacific, including 97,000 in the West Pacific, and the number is still rising.

With the deepened globalization process, the international community has become a community of common destiny where all countries have entwined interests. The U.S. has to keep in mind that its mounting military deployments in the West Pacific and Eastern Asia is bound to bring new elements of instability to the Asia Pacific region.

The attempt to gain interests by continuously flexing its military muscles and stirring up trouble in bilateral disputes between countries in the region is both wrong and short-sighted. It neither consists with the general trend of Asia's peaceful development nor serves America's own long-term interests in the Asia Pacific.

 The article is co-written by Zhang Junshe and Chen Liping from the PLA Daily

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