Carter, Admirals Take Questions on China at Shangri-La Dialogue
By Karen Parrish, DoD News, Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DoD
News) — June 04, 2016 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter and two of his senior
naval officers today responded to reporters’ questions about China during the
15th annual International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit,
known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore.
The news conference followed a speech Carter gave on, “The Asia-Pacific’s
Principled Security Network,” during which he advocated continued and increased
cooperation among the leaders and militaries in the region.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter signs a reciprocal defense agreement with
Japanese Minister of Defense Gen Nakatani in Singapore, June 4, 2016. Carter is
in Singapore attending the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security conference.
Carter was joined by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson, U.S.
Pacific Command commander Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., and David B. Shear,
assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs.
‘Cooperate Where We Can; Confront When We Must’
Carter and both admirals outlined a dual approach to China, which recently
has sought to establish its hold on islands, reefs and shoals in the South China
Sea by dredging and building airstrips and military outposts on territories
claimed by multiple nations.
Richardson said the Navy’s approach is the same in the Asia-Pacific as in
other parts of the world: safeguarding freedom of navigation and the global
“We're challenging excessive maritime claims around the world, and advocating
for that rules-based order, particularly in the global commons,” he said.
Harris said, “We want to cooperate with China in all domains as much as
possible, so we have to have a view, and I have a view of cooperation where we
can, but we have to confront them if we must.”
He went on, “I would rather that we didn't have to, but we have to operate
from a position of strength against all outcomes, and that's why you have the
Pacific Command, among other things, out there.”
Building a Principled Security Network
Carter recapped for reporters the principles-based strategy he discussed
during today’s speech.
“The United States and many others in the Asia-Pacific are working together
to build a principled security network to ensure that everyone and every nation
can continue to rise and prosper,” he said. “So our rebalance … is a critical
ingredient to our overall policy. Our overall policy which I described today is
one of supporting principle networks, including through the rebalance.”
Carter added, “That network, by expanding the reach of all, by responsibly
sharing the security group, represents the next wave of Asia-Pacific security.
Our rebalance ensures that the U.S. will remain the primary provider of regional
security and a leading contributor to the region's principled security network.”
The principles involved, Carter said, include “freedom from coercion, the
ability for each country to make its own choices, for disputes to be solved
peacefully, for countries to work together cooperatively and not against one
another in the military sphere, to solve many of these problems that we all
share in common to include humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response
to humanitarian tragedies, counter piracy, counter terrorism.”
He added, “There are lots of things that we need to do and can better do
together, and it's that kind of positive working together rather than working
against one another that is the American approach out here.”
Peacefulness, lawfulness, and freedom of the commons are things the United
States has stood for during many decades in the Asia-Pacific region, he said.
“Each country is going to have to make its own choices out here,” Carter said.
“We hope that every country, including China, chooses to be part of the network
and not to exclude themselves from that system. But that's a choice each country
has to make on its own.”
(Follow Karen Parrish on Twitter: @DoDNewsKParrish)
Related Biographies :
David B. Shear
Navy Adm. John M. Richardson
Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr.
Related Links :
Special Report: Asia-Pacific Rebalance