Posted: June 14th, 2012 | Author: Tom van der Made | Filed under: Asia-Pacific, China, Geo-Political Disputes, International Relations, Military | Tags: ASEAN, Asian security conference, China, disputes, Leon Panetta, military focus, oil fields, power shift, Russia, Secretary of Defence, South China Sea, territorial, trade routs, US
The US is shifting its strategic focus from Europe and the Middle-East to Asia. Last week during a nine day trip to Asia, US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta said, “Over the next few years we will increase the number and the size of our exercises in the Pacific. We will also increase and more widely distribute our port visits.” According to Panetta, by 2020 the focus will be shifted from today’s roughly 50/50 per cent split in military forces between the Pacific and the Atlantic to about a 60/40 split between the two oceans.
Defence Secretary Leon Panetta wants to increase its military presence in Asia, both in numbers and bases. This despite the 2013 budget plan, according to the internet newspaper the Huffington post the Pentagon unveiled a cut of $487 billion in spending over the next decade by eliminating nearly 100,00 ground troops, delaying ships and trimming air squadrons in a bid to create a smaller, agile force with a new strategic focus. The new focus seems to be moving away from the ground wars of the past decade towards efforts to preserve stability in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the Middle East.
The US has restated that it will not take sides in territorial disputes. In other words, the US will not unilaterally back one country’s sovereignty claims over another’s. This is an issue that the parties directly concerned must solve. The US, however, has an interest in preventing territorial disputes from being settled by force. China’s fleet is being modernized and can also be assumed as one of the reason why the US is increasing its military force in the region to preserve stabilisation as to an extent they deter China from using its growing naval power, to assert sovereignty over islands occupied by other countries. Read the rest of this entry »