News / Asia

US Bolsters Asian Militaries in Face of China's Growth

US Bolsters Asian Militaries in Face of China's Growthi
X
August 27, 2013
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is traveling in Southeast Asia in a bid to strengthen ties with the militaries of partners and allies in the face of China's growing influence in the region. Hagel has arrived in Brunei for a meeting of defense ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
TEXT SIZE - +
Luis Ramirez
— U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is traveling in Southeast Asia in a bid to strengthen ties with the militaries of partners and allies in the face of China's growing influence in the region. Hagel has arrived in Brunei for a meeting of defense ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN.

It is a visit meant to reassure partner nations that the United States stands behind them in their efforts to build their militaries.

At a stop in Indonesia, the U.S. defense secretary announced a $500 million deal for the sale of Apache helicopters to the Indonesian military.  

“We are signing today the letter of agreement to go forward and sell those helicopters," said Hagel.

High priority

It might seem odd that Hagel is visiting Asia at a time when U.S. ships are poised to launch an attack on Syria. The Obama administration effort to turn its military focus to the Pacific is a high priority, though, and analyst Patrick Cronin said attending the ASEAN meeting is a matter of credibility for the U.S.  

"For the United States not to show up at a meeting like this, not to take a trip that has long been planned, would send the completely wrong signal for the region," he said. "So it's very important, even while there are other global events and crises happening, that the secretary of defense has to maintain his schedule so that we can be a predictable partner and ally in Asia."

Hagel has announced Washington is boosting military aid to southeast Asia by 50 percent, in part to train and develop forces like these in the Philippines, Hagel's final stop on this visit.

Cronin calls it a wise investment at a time when the U.S. defense budget is tightening.

"Dollar for dollar, a little bit of engagement, a little bit of assistance to our partners and allies in East Asia can go much further than, say, sinking money into one large platform that may not be as useful for engaging this region," he said.

Beijing influence

China is not on the itinerary this time, but Beijing's maritime disputes with the Philippines and other U.S. allies and partners are very much in the background of discussions.  

Hagel's trip follows a visit last week by China's defense minister to the Pentagon where both sides talked about increasing exchanges and managing what could become a difficult relationship.

“Our goal is to build trust between our militaries through cooperation," said Hagel. "The transparency that we've had is important to reducing the risk of miscalculation and avoiding unintended tensions or conflicts."

U.S. and Chinese forces have been increasing cooperation, including a joint exercise with the Chinese navy off the coast of Hawaii last year.

Washington has, for the first time, invited China to take part in large multinational exercises next year.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

Why Europe and the US may be "whistling past the graveyard?" More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 29, 2013 11:15 PM
I am afraid where US military goes, conflicts would bring about and get worse. Why is US so concerned about foreign affairs? Does US ingenuously think about the happiness of counterparts? Does not US put priority on its interests rather than that of regions concerned? If admitted, it should be done by deplomatic efforts not by force measures to interfere in foreign concerns.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid