US is a Pacific power, we are not outsiders, EDCA shows our commitment

United States Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Center for Strategic and International Studies Deputy Assistant Secretary Michael Fuchs in a speech on Fourth Annual South China Sea Conference said that whatever happens in Asia-Pacific is increasingly important not only to the United States, but also to the world, this is the reason why President Obama decided to rebalance to the Asia-Pacific.

“That is why we are continuing to modernize our alliances, invest in strengthening regional institutions, expand our trade and investment, deepen engagement with new and emerging regional partners, and why we continue to expand people-to-people ties and promote our values and universal human rights.”

Chinese government and media, and other ‘experts’ have criticized US’ commitment to its allies in Asia-Pacific; saying let Pacific be Pacific, that US got nothing to do within the region, that US alliances are outdated, and that US is busy in the Middle East.

“Today, our efforts to modernize these alliances – including new agreements like the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the Philippines and the U.S.-Australia Force Posture Agreement – will benefit the entire region,” Secretary Fuchs said.

“Some call us “outsiders” and tell us not to intervene in regional issues. But they ignore that for decades the United States has been a Pacific power, integral to regional peace and stability, and that our interests are directly affected by what happens across the Asia-Pacific,” he added.

Fuchs made five points on how US is promoting peaceful management of disputes in the region: communicate concern, suggested diplomatic and other structures, invested in the capabilities of allies in the maritime domain, enhanced U.S. presence, urges all parties to use diplomatic means.

In his closing Fuchs said, “The United States is a Pacific power and plays a central role in ensuring regional peace and prosperity. And while we are not a claimant in the South China Sea, the actions of the claimants in the South China Sea are affecting everyone in the region and beyond, and therefore we all have roles to play in tackling this challenge.”

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