Gates reaffirms role of US military in Asia

Updated On: Jun 03, 2011

Faced with a future of significantly reduced military spending, the United States should pursue a program of “cost effective” cooperation with Asian allies to defend regional security and enhance American interests, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday.

Report & Analysis: Gates talks of boosting Asian security despite budget cuts [New Yor Times, 1 Jun 2011]

Mr. Gates, who was flying to Singapore for a weekend address at an Asian security conference  on the 4th and 5th of June where he is due to meet other defense ministers underscored the vast scope of challenges to regional stability, from natural disasters to an ascendant China.

Military ties between China and the US have not kept pace with economic and political developments between the nations. And according to Gates, China is developing "long-range, accurate cruise and ballistic anti-ship missiles," a larger navy, a new stealth fighter jet and cyber and anti-satellite capabilities. Military leaders are worried that China's growing military capabilities is in part directed at countering the United States strengths in the region.

Report & Analysis: Gates says US-China military ties at ‘pretty good place’ [Reuters, 1 Jun 2011]

Thought China-US military ties have been gradually warming but are still rocky after nearly a year's break over a $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan, many in the U.S. Senate are now urging Obama to authorize a new sale of F-16 jet fighters to Taiwan. In response, top Chinese General Chen Bingde said during a recent visit to Washington that further U.S. arms sales to Taiwan would further affect military ties between the two countries.

Report & Analysis: Gates travels to Asia with message of continuity [Reuters, 1 Jun 2011]

However, Gates has said that continued US presence in Asia is not an attempt to hold China down.

“China has been a great power for thousands of years. It is a global power and will be a global power. So the question is how to work our way through this in a way that ensures that we continue to have positive relations,” he added.

Report & Analysis: Gates in Asia says US not out to ‘hold China down’ [AFP, 2 Jun 2011]

At the security summit in Singapore, Gates aims to reassure allies that the United States will continue to uphold its security commitments in Asia despite coming budget cutbacks and his own imminent departure.

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