Samuel Locklear, DOD:
Shift to Pacific Steady, Deliberate
June 19, 2012
The top U.S. commander in the Pacific says the U.S. military is pushing
for a steady, deliberate approach as it pivots its focus to the
Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. military leadership is trying to head off
suspicions that its new attention on Asia is aimed at China.
Admiral Samuel Locklear recently took on the job of commander of U.S.
forces in the Pacific and will soon head to China for discussions aimed
at easing any tensions that may exist as the U.S. works to build its
military relationships with countries in Asia where China’s influence is
Admiral Locklear told reporters at the Pentagon Friday U.S. forces will
seek to build existing relationships but not build any new bases in the
“We are going to take a steady, deliberate and sustainable approach," he
said. "We're going to continue to work on our military-to-military
relationships with China because it's so important that as China
emerges, that we understand each other, that we prevent miscalculation
as we go forward.”
Australia (Apr. 22, 2012) - The Ohio-class guided missile submarine USS
Michigan (SSGN 727) arrives at HMAS Stirling for a visit as part of its
deployment to the Western Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Lieutenant Tyheem
Patrick Cronin, an Asia security analyst at the Center for a New
American Security research group in Washington, says the idea of a shift
in focus to the Pacific is something that previous administrations had
considered doing in the 1990s when China’s growth was already apparent.
With the post 9/11 wars ending, the administration sees Asia as the next
area of concern.
“The deck is clearing to return to that long term set of priorities,"
Cronin said. "But it’s going to be done not swiftly not in any major way
but rather gradually in a way that hopefully is building cooperation,
building a rules-based inclusive set of institutions in the region
rather than dividing the region into blocks and polarizing the region
into some type of new Cold War.”
Admiral Locklear spoke in support of U.S. ratification of the Law of the
Sea Treaty, a global maritime agreement that is currently the subject of
debate among U.S. lawmakers.
Defense officials believe the treaty would help avoid conflict with
China by establishing a set of rules in waters where U.S. Navy ships
regularly conduct exercises.
The U.S. is one of a few nations that has not ratified the 30-year-old
treaty because of concerns by some politicians who say it would
undermine U.S. sovereignty by giving too much power to international
organizations over mineral rights.