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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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charlie212
yes of course, it's only the united states that spies on people. don't worry china would never ever ever ever ever do something like that. lol. what a joke, just because some nerd came out with proof that the us spies on others doesn't mean china isn't doing it. As a matter of fact, china probably does more of it than the us. It's spying that leads to gathering intel to prevent terrorism and potential conflicts. If you are afraid of the us spying on your ever so coveted twitter and facebook account then encrypt your data you idiot. it's 2013 and everyone spies on everyone - get with it
babyhenry
o BTW the funny thing is no one thinks China, Russia, Germany, Japan, etc isn't doing it.
Just none of them or anyone else Spies and tell others in public not to spy and act like that he/she doesn't spy. Ever heard of the word hypocrisy???
I suppose the "Do what I say and not what I do" is back again eh? Well not everyone is Japan and Phillipines and takes order from uncle sam all the time.
babyhenry
US spying good and Chinese spying bad.. typical idiotic american response (no wonder you clowns will let a nut job like Zimmerman walk free) or are you one of its apologists.
Iraq stands as a classic example how full of **** the US intelligence is, or if not then its obvious that the US gov't fabricated evidence to start a war. So the US is the one that should STFU and learn to control itself and not spread it trigger happiness with its little thugs allies in Asia.
The day when I see all those who voted for the Iraq war hang in the US, the day the US can start lecturing again. If not STFU hyprocrite.
aplucky1
you have ZERO proof it prevents anything
can you say BOSTON BOMBING, even the russians warned the fbi idiots but I guess they are too busy making sure someone did not use the "n" word to follow up on the lead

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