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  • Jul 26, 2014
  • Updated: 2:32pm
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TERRITORIAL DISPUTES

US naval commander warns Asia on use of force to settle disputes

In comments seen as directed at China, US naval chief suggests growing economic power may tempt nations into military action to settle disputes

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 9:58am

A top United States naval commander warned yesterday that growing economic power might tempt some Asian countries to settle disputes by force - remarks widely seen as directed at China.

The comments by Vice-Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the Japan-based US Seventh Fleet, came amid mounting territorial disputes between China and its neighbours.

Economic power is being converted to military power in many parts of the region, which may increase the temptation to use coercion or force in an attempt to resolve differences between nations
Vice-Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the Japan-based US Seventh Fleet

Yesterday, the Philippines also said a UN arbitration tribunal had convened to examine its conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Swift - speaking at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney - said the region's economic boom had led nations to improve their military capabilities. The heightened security challenges increased the importance of collaboration between the region's militaries, he said.

"Economic power is being converted to military power in many parts of the region, which may increase the temptation to use coercion or force in an attempt to resolve differences between nations," Swift said.

Beijing has been angered by US efforts to increase its regional military presence as part of a strategic "pivot" towards Asia.

It fears Washington is using China's territorial disputes with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam to counter growing Chinese influence in the region.

Yue Gang, a retired colonel and Beijing-based military commentator, said Swift's remarks appeared directed at China in an attempt to bring other Asian nations closer to Washington. "It is similar to spreading the China threat theory," Yue said. "Other Asian nations may find it necessary to team up with the US to offset China."

Washington has repeatedly denied any cold-war-style containment policy against China, saying it wants only to ensure peaceful development and protect vital trade routes.

But Barack Obama warned China against using force or intimidation to settle maritime disputes at the Sino-US strategic and economic dialogue in Washington last week.

Swift described the military relationship between China and the US as "collegial" and said Washington welcomed inclusive military relationships.

He said collaboration with China would bring the two nations closer and prevent maritime conflict. The vice-admiral also said he believed a cold war between China and the US was unlikely because today's circumstances were "very different" from the past.

He noted that the US was even supportive of a recent Sino-Russia joint naval exercise that ended on Friday. "We have much more in common than we have in competition with China," he said.

Meanwhile, Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said a five-member tribunal under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea convened last week in The Hague and approved a set of rules to look into the legal challenge Manila launched against Beijing in January.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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hongkiejj@malaysiaboleh
chill out guys....he is referring to his own country...and China is just following their example and they are cheese off just because China is the only country that can afford to do so.
Economic might = military might..
the sun also rises
I think this old guy is just talking nonsense again ! As all know, wars concern with nothing more than money/resources as Napoleon once said,' to stage a war, the first thing comes to mind is money,the second is again money and the last one is also money !' In past human history, wars were fought due to grabbing of natural resources (such as the Sino-Japanese war from 1931-1945) or ideology or religion differences but the innermost cause was still money ! When a country gets rich,it can spend more on its military strength so as to protect its legitimate interests such as now China can boldly and openly claim her sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islets (so-called Senkaku by the ****) and other occupied islets in South China Sea (renamed the West Philippines Sea by the Philipinos who acted like pirates only ) by both Vietnam and the Philippines.What is wrong with that ? I wonder.
lamlm38
like comrade Deng.. get rich first, modernize ue equipments then stake ur claims!!!
johnrai7
I think he is right, why don't you guys see that how China is being hated by neighbours. If we want to be key player we have to respect each other not intimidating with our new just arrived toys.
China should not mix economics and political relations too. China lacks professionalism from the grassroot level that's why HK has the edge, ;) I hope Chinese CCP bosses (as they are ) is hearing and stop being stereotyped, or its gonna be bad times ahead. Its not always and all about US ... :)
lamlm38
this old c.o.c.k sucker ought to shot himself in the head.. is he saying only the good old USofA has the moral authority to solve conflicts by force? go to h.e.l.l!!!!!
dodgiereigh
The 7th fleet maintains the peace and therefore ensures stability and continuous success of all East Asian economies. Thanks to the taxpayers of America.
babyhenry
No actually thanks to foreign debt buyers like China & Russia.
Funny he didn't mention the their thuggish allies like the filipinos who already is shooting at unarmed fisherman with tremendous joy & the Japanese for constantly provoking its neighbours.
How's your drones doing? Still calling it a success as long as you strike anyone of age 18 and above? and God OBAMA deciding whether they are guilty or not. In so many ways Obama is just as bad as Bush. As a matter of fact the only difference its his Skin Colors and presentation skills.
siulun2050
If they did not start a war first.
the sun also rises
totally trash uttered by this old guy--the commander of the 7th Fleet of the US Navy.As all knows, America's naval hegemony or military might in the past decades were also based on her economic might.Right ? Without a strong economy,no country can build up a strong armed force and carry out as many drills as possible !'might is right' has been observed in human history for thousands of years alreay and disputes were solved by wars are no news indeed !
lokuohsiung
Sorry. You really lost all credibility when you started spying on us, asked us to help you apprehend your whistle-blower, and then berated us for failing to help you clean up your own ****-up.

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