Thursday, January 21, 2010


A ranking State Department official indicated the United States will continue to play the role of policeman in the Asia Pacific region.

“For the last half century, the United States and its allies in the region – Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, the Philippines and Thailand – have maintained security and stability in East Asia and the Pacific,” Assistant State Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs on Jan. 21.

“Our alliances remain the bedrock of our engagement in the region, and the Obama administration is committed to strengthening those alliances to address both continuing and emerging challenges.

“The United States, therefore, must maintain a forward-deployed military presence in the region that both reassures friends and reminds others that the United States will remain the ultimate guarantor of regional peace and stability (emphasis mine).

“There should be no mistake: the United States is firm in its resolve to uphold its treaty commitments regarding the defense of its allies,” Campbell said.

“As the Asia-Pacific century emerges, defining the new international environment, the United States must enhance and deepen its strategic engagement and leadership role in the region,” he stressed.

Campbell outlined the various Obama administration initiatives, from ensuring free trade to improved environmental cooperation to promoting human rights.

“We need to ensure that the United States is a resident power and not just a visitor, because what happens in the region has a direct effect on our security and economic well-being.

“Over the course of the next few decades climate change, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and widespread poverty will pose the most significant challenges to the United States and the rest of the region,” Campbell said.

“The United States will continue to speak for those on the margins of society…

“The freedom to speak your mind and choose your leaders, the ability to access information and worship how you please are the basis of stability. We need to let our partners in the region know that we will always stand on the side of those who pursue those rights,” Campbell said.

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