China Not Focus of Asia-Pacific Rebalancing
WASHINGTON, June 5, 2012 – The U.S. strategy to rebalance military forces toward the Asia-Pacific region is not intended to restrict China’s growth, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby told reporters today.
“It's not aimed at rebuffing or trying to limit the growth and development of any one country,” Kirby said at a Pentagon news briefing. “In fact, [Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta] also made it clear that the peaceful, prosperous rise of China is a good thing, not just for that region, but for the world.”
Panetta has repeatedly said the new Asia-Pacific defense strategy doesn’t target any specific nation in the region, Kirby told reporters. “Secretary [Panetta] has made it clear on his trip that the defense strategy, which includes a rebalancing and more focus on the Asia-Pacific region, is not targeted at any one country in that region, but rather the region as a whole,” Kirby said.
Kirby noted it is the Defense Department’s firm belief that the U.S. has significant security interests in the Asia-Pacific region and significant security commitments to its allies and partners there.
The Pentagon spokesman also responded to a reporter’s question about reports citing Chinese officials as describing the rebalancing as “untimely.” “As for the timeliness, I think we would all agree that the defense strategy, as written, and as endorsed, by not only this department, but by President [Barack Obama], is absolutely timely,” Kirby said. “This is the right time to be looking at the Asia-Pacific region to renew our commitments there, and to rebalance our resources, and our attention there,” he said.