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Pentagon vows to continue 'rebalance' in Asia

Reporter: Jin Yingqiao 丨 CCTV.com

10-02-2016 19:09 BJT

Pentagon Chief Ashton Carter is reassuring Southeast Asian nations' defense ministers that the US rebalance in Asia will continue after President Barack Obama steps down from office. The US defense chief is using the meeting to strengthen America's military position in the region.

The rebalance -- or "pivot to Asia," as it is sometimes called -- has been a cornerstone of President Obama's foreign policy. He wants the US to shift away from the Middle East.

"We'll share our nations' perspectives on security and listen to others and we'll make plans to further catalyze the Asia Pacific's principled and inclusive security network," Ashton Carter said.

Speaking at an informal summit in Hawaii, Carter has told ASEAN defense ministers the U-S is committed to strengthening their partnerships. Among the region's key concerns is the return of hundreds of jihadists from Iraq and Syria. Carter also vows that the U-S military will ignore Beijing's South China Sea claims as American ships and planes operate in waters and airspace in the area.

"The United States would like to help all our nations see more, share more and do more to help keep South East Asia's vital waterways open and secure," Ashton Carter said.

But his claim is seen as a ploy to extend U-S hegemony in the region. This also needlessly ratchets up tensions because commercial shipping lanes have never been blocked in the South China Sea.

"No country, except the US, believes in military vessels sailing wherever they want, which is against international law," Lu Kang, spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The Pentagon chief says the U-S is entering the third phase of its rebalancing strategy. The country plans to bring in more military hardware to Asia. Around 60 percent of its military will be allocated in this region by 2020.

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