US to strengthen naval presence in Asia-Pacific
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has emphasised the importance of a strong US Navy presence in Asia in a speech to navy graduates ahead of his visit to China, Vietnam, India and Singapore.
Panetta added the US should intensify existing ties with Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines, and form a strong partnership with other South East Asian nations. He also highlighted the need to strengthen military ties with China, the destination of his first trip as defence secretary.
“China’s military is growing and modernizing. We must be vigilant. We must be strong. We must be prepared to confront any challenge,” he said.
The new US defense strategy, released in January 2012, defines China as a security threat.
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