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LinkAsia | Jun 8
US defense secretary Leon Panetta visited Vietnam this past week, where he discussed an increased US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. ...
Hi, welcome to LinkAsia. I'm Thuy Vu. Yul Kwon is on assignment. We're starting off the show by looking at how the US is pivoting towards Asia. As you may know, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made a visit to Southeast Asia this week. It's a clear indication that the US is trying to beef up military presence and perhaps also looking to strengthen alliances. Some Chinese view this shift as a threat. So that raises the question: Is the US trying to contain China? South Korean broadcaster MBC has the story.
As the number of territorial disputes increases between China and other Asian countries in the seas around China, the US announces that it will reinforce its naval forces in the Asia-Pacific region.
Leon Panetta, United States Secretary of Defense:
We are rebalancing our forces to the Asia-Pacific region, so that in the future, 60 percent of our forces will be located in this region.
By redeploying 60 percent of its naval forces to the Pacific region and 40 percent to the Atlantic, instead of 50 percent in each ocean, the US is relocating 10 percent more forces to the Asia-Pacific region, facing China. The Chinese government is critical of the shift.
Liu Weimin, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman:
We expect the US to play a constructive role and respect the interests and concerns of China in the Asia-Pacific region.
China is also taking action against the US decision. To celebrate China's People's Liberation Army Day on August 1st, an aircraft carrier has arrived in Dalian after completing its seventh sea trial. And Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV reports that China plans to build four new aircraft carriers designed with "stealth" technology, and these new additions to China's naval forces are grabbing people's attention. Meanwhile, the US defense secretary, who revealed the new plan for reinforced naval forces in the Asia-Pacific region, is heading to Vietnam right after the Asia Security Council meeting in Singapore. And the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff is going to the Philippines, and that worries China.