Joe Biden promises US will remain a power in Pacific region
Agence France-Presse in Singapore
The United States will remain a Pacific power, Vice-President Joe Biden vowed yesterday as he credited his country with maintaining peace and stability in the region for decades.
Biden, ending a two-day visit to Singapore, said the US presence there had allowed Asia-Pacific nations to focus on growing their economies. "I state without apology that we are a Pacific power. America is a Pacific resident power and we will remain so," President Barack Obama's number two told sailors of the US Navy's littoral combat ship USS Freedom.
In another speech at a facility of US aerospace giant Pratt & Whitney, Biden said: "The increase in maritime incidents and assertive action which we see lately in the South China Sea represents a threat to the security of the region."
He did not mention any country, but Vietnam and US treaty ally the Philippines have accused China of mounting aggressive actions in the sea.
Biden said the risk of a miscalculation in the sea was real and urged claimants to hasten talks on legally binding rules to prevent conflict. "It would not take much … to escalate, and tensions can turn into conflict," he said.