Military chief of U.S. Pacific Command says alliances ‘critical’ for keeping the region ‘free’

The first Asian head of the U.S. military’s Pacific Command was interviewed by several news organizations in the region on Monday, including the South China Morning Post. The question and answer session was aimed at responding to the growing rhetoric of some Asian countries about joining a growing series of security arrangements. The exchanges between the islands of the West Philippine Sea have been characterized by similar concerns about China’s growing might, but appear to show disagreements over how to organize these arrangements to meet the perceived threat.

The session began with Admiral Scott Swift, whose title is first class three ranking — the same as the president’s Marine. He was asked why the South China Sea is such a difficult area to defend, given that it is so laden with borders.

“The South China Sea is an important area,” he said. “You need a good sea lane through. But it’s also an area where a number of other countries can have access to.”

He said that he considered alliances, co-operative security networks, and other policies “critical” for keeping the area free.

He later criticized China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea and its need to “import hard national security capabilities to repel potential threats that do not exist.”

Read the full story at The Straits Times


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