April 22, 2013
Credit: U.S. Navy
The United States’ top military officer on Monday defended the re-orientation of U.S. foreign policy towards Asia in front of his Chinese counterpart, a week after Beijing criticised Washington for ramping up its military presence in the region.
China is uneasy with what the United States has called the “rebalancing” of forces as Washington winds down the war in Afghanistan and renews its attention further east.
China says the policy has emboldened Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam in longstanding territorial disputes with Beijing.
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said the United States “has been and will continue to be a Pacific power.
“We seek to be a stabilising influence in the region,” Dempsey said at a news conference at China’s Ministry of National Defence. “In fact, we believe it would be our absence that would be destabilising in the region, not our presence.”
Dempsey was speaking at a joint press conference with Chinese Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Fang Fenghui after both sides held talks earlier in the day.
China’s defence ministry made a thinly veiled criticism of the United States last week for increasing tensions in the Asia-Pacific, saying China faces “multiple and complicated security threats” due to the U.S. strategy.
Fang said there is a possibility that North Korea could launch a fourth nuclear test.
“We ask all sides to work on the North Koreans to stop the nuclear tests, and stop producing nuclear weapons,” he said.