Samuel J. Locklear III,
DOD: Pacific Command Seeks Collaboration, Not Confrontation
December 07, 2012
The United States would like China to
be a constructive influence on the world stage, and the U.S. Pacific
Command is stressing cooperation and collaboration, not confrontation,
in the region, Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III said here today.
The admiral, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said the command is
moving forward on the U.S. move to rebalance forces to the Pacific.
“The rebalance draws on the strengths of the entire U.S. government,
including policy, diplomacy, trade and, of course, security,” Locklear
said during a Pentagon news conference.
The rebalance is not aimed at any one nation or region, the admiral
said. The strategy underscores that the United States is and will remain
a Pacific power.
Locklear stressed that rebalancing is not so much about equipment or
troops -- although they play a part -- but about relationships.
Rebalancing to the Pacific came from the defense strategic guidance
released in January. Pacom’s mission is to strengthen relationships in
the region, adjust U.S. military posture and presence, and employ new
concepts, capabilities and capacities.
This will “ensure that we continue to effectively and efficiently
contribute to the stability and security of the Asia-Pacific as we
protect U.S. national interest,” the admiral said. “The keys to success
will be innovative access agreements, greatly increased exercises,
rotational presence increases and efficient force posture initiatives
that will maximize the dollars that we are given to spend.”
China is increasingly asserting itself in the region, but the admiral
said he has good relations with Chinese leaders. China has undergone a
power transfer and the Peoples’ Liberation Army has new commanders.
There are territorial disputes between China and other nations in the
South China Sea and the East China Sea. Locklear reiterated the U.S.
position on these disputes. He said America does not take sides but does
want to see issues resolved peacefully.
“We call on all the parties there, including the Chinese, to ensure
that, as they approach these problems, that they do so in a way that
avoids conflict, that avoids miscalculation, that uses the vehicles
available today through diplomacy and through those legal forums that
allow them to get to reasonable solutions on these without resorting to
coercion or conflict,” the admiral said.
In addition to asserting what it believes is its role in the region,
China has also embarked on an effort to modernize its military. The
latest indicator was the landing of a naval variant of the J-15 jet on
Beijing’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.
“If I were China and I was in the economic position that China is in and
I was in a position of where I have to look after my global security
interests, I would consider building an aircraft carrier, and I might
consider building several aircraft carriers,” Locklear said.
not so much having such a military capability, but what China does with
it that concerns the admiral.
Aircraft carriers have a role in maintaining the peace. “If the issue is
that [the Chinese] are not part of that global security environment,
then I think we have to be concerned about [Chinese aircraft carriers],”
India is another rising world power and Pacom is working closely with
the government there to cement the military relationship between the
world’s two largest democracies.
“We very much support India taking a leadership in the security issues
in and around the Indian Ocean,” the admiral said. “We are looking for
opportunities to participate and interoperate with them where we can.”