Washington: The US strategy and re-balancing of its forces in the Asia-Pacific region is not intended to contain China, a top Pentagon commander said on Thursday.
General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that he has been repeatedly asked such a question in the recent past and during his recent trip to Asia.
"Our strategy and re-balancing to the Pacific is not intended to contain China," he said when a similar question was asked at a news conference here.
"I don't carry around a backpack with American flags and run around the world planting them. In fact, quite to the contrary what we want to do is, and consistent with our new strategy, we want to be out there partnered with nations and having rotational presence that would allow us to build up common capabilities for common interests in the region. Because we think that'll be stabilising," he said.
"We think, in fact, the opposite: Our absence will be the destabilising influence," Dempsey argued.
"It seems to me to be somewhat evident that the strategic challenges of the future, whether those are economic challenges, whether they're demographic challenges, whether they're military challenges are migrating to the Pacific. Just by virtue of the size, the scope, the scale of populations and economies, that is the region in the world where we all ought to be engaged, and we all ought to be engaged with the intent of avoiding confrontation," he said.
"The way you avoid confrontation is by being transparent and, in my view, present so you don't create miscalculation. That’s the message that we carried into the Pacific," he said.
The US, he noted, would like the military to military relationship between the two countries to move at a much faster pace than it is now.
"Our mil-to-mil engagement is moving along. We would like to see it move a little faster, but the mil-to-mil, especially service-to-service, is actually moving along quite well," he said.
"We would like to have ongoing conversations with them about our re-balancing and about their growth, their growth of military capability. But I think being there will be the condition under which those conversations have meaning. And so I don't want to suggest we do have a relationship with China. We certainly aspire to increasing that relationship over time," Dempsey said.
First Published: Friday, June 08, 2012, 09:38