News / Asia

US Pacific Commander: Budget Problems Will Not Undermine US Military

Admiral Robert Willard
Admiral Robert Willard

The head of the U.S. Pacific Command said Sunday he is confident that American military forces in the Asia-Pacific region will continue to have the support they need to maintain their forward presence.  

After the APEC summit, the focus of President Barack Obama's Asia-Pacific trip shifts from trade and closer economic cooperation to security.

He is set to leave Hawaii on Tuesday for Australia, where the two allies are expected to announce an agreement to expand U.S. military access to Australian bases.  Then, it is on to Bali and the East Asia summit, which is emerging as a major forum for discussion of security and reducing tensions over issues such as rival claims in the South China Sea.

In remarks to reporters in Honolulu, Navy Admiral Robert Willard said managing the U.S. relationship with China is among five priorities for the U.S. Pacific Command.  

On regional concerns about China's actions in the South China Sea, Willard noted the importance of sea lanes for trade, $5.3 trillion annually of which $1.2 trillion of trade involves the United States.

The United States, he noted, works to ensure maritime security and a peaceful resolution of disputes, saying the U.S. military presence helps to prevent a miscalculation that might threaten stability. "It is vitally important that the region remain peaceful and that the sea lines of communication remain uninterrupted by confrontation or any form of conflict that would take place.  So we are there to prevent it, and thus far we have been successful in doing that," he said.

Asked whether the expected U.S.-Australia agreement would serve as a "counterweight" in the region to China, Admiral Willard indicated that new access there would help relieve the pressure of maintaining an effective and sustained forward-deployed U.S. presence.

The admiral was also asked about recent remarks by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who warned that potential deeper U.S. budget cuts for the Pentagon could hamper American military capabilities and possibly "invite aggression."

Referring to a defense posture review underway as the U.S. military transitions out of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and budgetary challenges, Admiral Willard said he is confident that decisions made in Washington will not undercut the forces he oversees.

"I have every confidence that in the decisions that our government makes, that our administration makes and that are made in the Pentagon, given the importance of this region to the world and the importance of this region to the United States, that the Pacific Command will continue to be well served and able to carry out its mission of assurance and deterrence where required into the foreseeable future," he said.

Admiral Willard listed other U.S. priorities in the Asia-Pacific region as managing the threat posed by North Korea, "transnational" threats such as countering weapons proliferation, containing violent extremist groups in places such as the Philippines, and containing threats in South Asia by the group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

In South Asia, Willard said, the United States has a "special focus" on strengthening military-to-military ties with India, in areas such as maritime security, including anti-piracy activities.

U.S. officials note that by the end of his Asia-Pacific trip, President Obama will have met with leaders of all of its Asia-Pacific treaty partners, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines.

Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes says that in coming days, Mr. Obama will be speaking more about the range of security issues in the region and the U.S. presence there as he responds to the interest of nations in having the United States deeply engaged, helping address a range of challenges.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs