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Increased presence in Asia not a challenge to China: Panetta

Saturday, June 02, 2012 - 01:42

June 2 - U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said an increased military presence in the Asia Pacific region is not meant to be a challenge to China. Julie Noce reports.

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said on Saturday that the U.S. will move the majority of it's warships to the Asia-Pacific region in the coming years. Panetta made the comments during a security summit in Singapore. He was careful to stress that the move should not be viewed as confrontational. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA SAYING: "Some view the increased emphasis by the United States in the Asia Pacific region as some kind of challenge to China. I reject that view entirely. Our effort to renew and intensify our involvement in Asia is fully compatible with the development and growth of China." Currently, the U.S. has about 50 percent of it's warships assigned to Asia-- but that number will rise to 60 percent by 2020. And while the U.S. doesn't want to appear combative with it's increased presence in the region, U.S. Senator John McCain, who's travelling with Panetta, said China should offer the same courtesy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN SAYING: " I don't view that China's military build-up necessarily is directed at the United States of America. But I do worry when we don't know exactly how much money is spent, what it's on, and we would also like to hear what their doctrine will be." Panetta and the U.S. delegation are in the region for the next week and plan to visit Vietnam and India during their trip. Julie Noce, Reuters

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Increased presence in Asia not a challenge to China: Panetta

Saturday, June 02, 2012 - 01:42