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Panetta explains the new US strategy in Asia. Comeback to Vietnam

(credit: US Defense / Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)

(B2) The American Minister of Defense, Leon Panetta, started a visit to Singapore which will take him to several countries (Vietnam – a comeback! (*) – and India), to present the new strategy of USA in the region. “ Call it a pivot shift, a refocus, or a rebalance, the bottom line is that US military strategy in the Asia-Pacific region is changing. explained the minister.

Not directed against China

This strategy will be based on alliance treaties. The United States already has such a treaty with Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. And they want “to establish relations with the other nations of the region”. Leon Panetta, however, denied that this strategy was aimed at containing China. On the contrary… " It's about bringing China into this relationship to try to address the common challenges we face. ", did he declare. And to cite the sending of humanitarian aid, the fight against terrorism, against drug traffickers, against piracy…

The US military also wants to strengthen its power projection capabilities in the region. There will thus be “ new platforms and capabilities for troops in the region confirmed Panetta. But in a new format. " We are moving away from the Cold War strategy where you build permanent bases to impose our power on the region. We are moving towards a very innovative and creative principle in which we develop rotational deployments, which will work with these countries to develop their capabilities, which will strengthen our partnership relationship for the future. » The number of soldiers present is expected to increase. There are already 330.000 US troops in the Pacific command area. Likewise, the number of US ships present in the area will be increased: the current proportion of 50/50 between the Atlantic and the Pacific should thus increase to 60/40.

(*) In Vietnam, the Secretary of State for Defense will sign a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation. But he will also discuss Vietnamese assistance in helping find and recover the remains of Americans missing in action during the Vietnam War.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).