By Karen Parrish, American
Forces Press Service.
Singapore, June 1, 2013 – (AFPS) –
During a question-and-answer session following his speech here this morning,
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel countered a Chinese general’s question on
whether the U.S. strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific is intended to
Hagel spoke at the 12th
Annual Shangri-La Dialogue before delegates from some 27 nations in the
region. Following his remarks, Maj. Gen. Yao Yunzhu,
director of China-America Defense Relations for China’s Academy of Military
Science, expressed doubt about statements made by U.S. leaders that the U.S.
strategic emphasis in the region is not intended to limit China’s military
Hagel responded that as he
said during his speech, the United States welcomes “a strong and emerging and
responsible China.” The same is true of other emerging nations including
India and Indonesia, he added.
“We look forward to that
emergence for many reasons, but one among them all is as important as any
other, and that’s the responsibility that great nations take on,” he said.
Powerful nations share
responsibilities for security in their region, he said, because they have
“huge stakes” in maintaining stability and peace.
“We recognize that; we want
to be part of that,” the secretary said.
The United States has been a
Pacific power for 200 years, Hagel noted, so its emphasis on the region is
“We’ve had interests,
partnerships, relationships in this part of the world for a long time,” he
said. “We have interests here too, just as China and Russia and other nations
have interests all over the world.”
Hagel said reassuring China
on U.S. intentions in the region is at the core of enhanced military to
The United States wants to
avoid miscalculations, misunderstandings and misinterpretations, he said.
“The only way you do that is
you talk to each other,” the secretary said. “You’ve got to be direct with
each other; you have to share with each other; you’ve got to be inclusive
with each other. And I think we’re on track with that. I think we’ve made
good … and continued progress on that, and we’ll make more progress.”
Later, a senior defense
official who is part of Hagel’s delegation told reporters on background China
is “the only country that is even questioning whether we have a containment
strategy toward China. Everyone else recognizes that we don’t.”
The official acknowledged
the U.S. did employ such a strategy during the Cold War. The relationship
between the two countries now, he noted, is “very, very different.”
Hagel will remain in
Singapore through the end of the Shangri-La Dialogue before traveling on to
Brussels for NATO defense minister meetings.