Panetta: US tilt to Asia unstoppable


US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

SIEM REAP, Cambodia—US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Friday sought to promote Washington’s strategic shift to the Asia-Pacific and a tentative rapprochement with Burma (Myanmar) as he met counterparts in the region.

The US tilt to Asia reflects a concerted effort by the Obama administration to assert American influence in the face of China’s growing economic and military might.

“The message I have conveyed on this visit is that the United States’ rebalance to the Asia-Pacific is real, it is sustainable, and it will be ongoing for a long period of time,” Panetta said.

The US is deepening its military engagement with allies in the region, he told reporters after talks with counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), including Burma.

He said the Pentagon would increase the size and number of its defense exercises with its Southeast Asian partners.

Pentagon officials are considering reviving military ties with Burma to cooperate on non-lethal programs focused on medicine, education and disaster relief exercises.

The activities would be “limited in scope” at the outset, said a senior US defense official, adding:  “We’ll grow as appropriate over time. We need to see reform. We need to see continued progress.”

Burma is also expected to be invited to observe Cobra Gold, the largest US multilateral exercise in the Asia-Pacific. It brings together thousands of troops from the US, Thailand and other countries for field training.

The overtures to Burma’s leaders are a source of concern for China, as the country—along with North Korea—has remained firmly in Beijing’s orbit and off-limits to the Americans until now, analysts said.

“From China’s perspective, enhancing US-Burma security ties takes on greater significance because it was one of the few countries in China’s periphery that Beijing had a near monopoly on military, economic, and diplomatic relations,” said Andrew Scobell of the RAND Corp. think tank.

“Now, with a US-Burmese rapprochement well under way, China’s leaders believe they are being outmuscled by the United States in yet another location around their periphery,” he said.

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  • rodulio

    Where are the dogs…here doggie doggie…hahaha

  • Mao Mao Chamn

    To: Chinese Agents AFPako, Topolcats, Matt Lee, vf I, and PurpleDaisy13

    You are hereby instructed to mobilize all Philippino Chinese and lead their exodus from the Filipin to China.

    You are also hereby instructed to initiate mass suicide in China.  The mighty Americans are now encircling our motherland.  It is time to restore our honor by committing mass suicide.  You, my five agents must lead by example by slitting your throat.  Right now, I cannot follow you because I am still needed by our dear leader, Bo Xilai.

    • rodulio

      LOL. I agree…

      • AFPako

        Calling on maomaogook, did you just got your dose of Italian chupapa ? Kilig na kilig ka naman nakarinig lang sa isang malaking ilong na Italianong mabaho ? hehehehehe, hala kain ka ng spaghetti para lalaki ang atay mo .

      • ano ikaw

         Talagang bakla kang INSIK ka…..antay ka lang beho,

      • AFPako

        Hilig ka sa chupapa at  hilig manakut ng kapwa kapitbahay mo ? Unggok ka !  Maglinis ka sa pweet mo bago ka manakut !

    • patriot2008

      Kung mahanap lang natin si AFPako, dapat bitayin iyan bilang traydor. Lalo na kung nag umpisa na ang giyera sa West Philippine sea. Dapat may mga gerilya unit tayo na pumapatay ng mga traydor.

  • superpilipinas

    I think it’s all talk.

    Obama’s administration has clearly stated their policy of scaling down their military and cutting budget. It’s understandable. They have tons of domestic programs they need to spend for like Obama care and they don’t have the money. US influence is spiralling down. US has big debt to China and will not antagonize them. I doubt US will sell military equipment to friends who are opposing China, like Taiwan, Philippines, and Japan.

    The military exercise does not help any.

    PH should maintain relations with the US but PH needs to build up with the help of new friends, France, Italy, Canada, Spain, etc. We’re getting 5 new attack choppers from France, 2 Naval choppers from Italy,  

  • Touch_Me_Nuts

    As in the last Cold War, China’s dilemma is how to create a bloc of alliance among her neighbors to match the Warsaw Pact. But China is not there yet where the old USSR was to match NATO. China is not even friends with many of her neighbors.

    As it is, China is now surrounded by ‘pivoting’ US war machine, and riled up neighbors as a result of her own arrogance and belligerence. China however needs a ‘spark’ to prove her point. But the question is how. Inside China could also be a big issue. China cannot effectively project herself in the world scene with more than half of her population living on noodles. Besides, Chinese scientists are not top rate scientists as of yet; technology inside China is often “borrowed” from the outside.

    As Japan in the last war, China’s main enemy is just as much of lack of materials as it is of time. Time is even harder to control. Japan could have effectively changed the tide of the war in the Pacific had it not of major setbacks that hampered the successful launch of her Super Submarines that were meant for the US west coast.

  • AFPako

    Pls all come to South China Sea and China will have something for you all . This is perfect time .

    • patriot2008

      Yes, China please fire at the US ships and submarines in the West Philippine sea now, we really want to go to war with you now China when your forces are no match for the US, Japan and allies combined. The US nuclear subs are tailing your junk ships right now, hindi ba kayo nagagalit? China have reportedly only 200 nukes, or at most 400 nukes, but the US has thousands of nukes and the size of the US economy is still two times China. Kahit war ready aircraft carrier, wala pa ang China. Hindi rin nasanay ang PL Navy ng china gumamit ng aircraft carrier. AFPako, magpatayan tayo na ngayon na at matira ang matibay.

  • ano ikaw

    Bring on the US bases and military might to Asia!
    More Power to America!

    • AFPako

       Chupapa ka muna sa Italianong malaking ilong , bago ka makatanggap ng saklulo.

  • wakats

    Think Tank RAND Corp. is right.

    The US is being forced to pivot to Asia because of china’s repeated provocations among its weak neighbors, many of them US allies, ostensibly to enforce its claim of ownership of nearly the entire south china sea including territories that are close to shores of sovereign countries and within their 200-mile EEZ.

    China’s new leadership comes at a time when domestic pressure mounts for the 2nd largest economy to toughen its foreign policy to match its economic might.

    The confrontation is inevitable unless china preserves the status quo and continue its march to be the world’s largest economy and narrow the wealth gap among its billionth population, a sure source of discontent in the future…  

  • Raul

    Mga baklang PLA ninirbyos na. Pag dumaan ang U.S warship d alam kung ano gagawin. Bahala na daw ang mga mangingisda.

    • AFPako

      Mga kayumangmang na tsupapa,  kilig na kilig na ang mga bibig nyo dadarating na ang mga negro at wthie trash . AT least naman mabubuhay kayo sa pagtsusupa nila. And dont expect these yankee doodles and hillbillies to give you good money. They are running out of cash so baka mag palibre pa mga ito . Ihalad na ninyo ang inyong mga dalagitas , hala sulong ….

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