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Admiral Greenert Encourages Military-to-Military Co-operation with China While Maintaining Deterrence

Admiral Greenert Encourages Military-to-Military Co-operation with China While Maintaining Deterrence


Feb. 13, 2014 (LPAC)–In a special media interview yesterday, U.S. chief of naval operations Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert said the rebalanceing of U.S. naval forces to the Pacific was important in view of the increasingly potentially hostile environment in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, according to a report in Malaysia’s {New Strait Times.}

“We have to maintain the situation in this region. We do not want to draw lines. It is everyone’s desire to lessen confrontations which are of no benefit to either party. Any aggressive behavior is counter-productive,” he said. Greenert reiterated that, just like the U.S., China is an important player in the Asia-Pacific in preserving peace and stability. “We believe in the freedom of navigation, and respect the set of protocols and conduct at sea. We have and continue to engage China professionally in dialogues, symposiums, exchange of training programs and other inter-operability events to avoid any precluded miscalculations over territorial disputes at sea.

“Our experiences as mariners for decades and the strategic framework in place, come into play very crucially in times of crisis. Our commanders are able to engage in direct negotiations via phone calls with each other to diffuse a confrontational situation from escalating. It’s not a bed of roses, but we are moving on with the endeavors and challenges,” he said.

Greenert added that the U.S. believes in promoting naval diplomacy with foreign forces so as to garner a better understanding of each other’s role. “The repository on the naval and maritime domain is shared among regional navies so that they are aware of events like ship movements and exercises, without raising doubts,” he said. On another note, Greenert said efforts were underway with China to enhance anti-piracy and counter-crime measures in the Gulf of Aden and the Asia-Pacific. “We look forward to working on the success story of our relationship with multi-national task forces in the Gulf of Aden and the Straits of Malacca with Southeast Asian forces on this aspect, he said.

{Reuters} and the Philippines {Inquirer} played up as bellicose remarks made by the admiral in another venue.

“Of course, we would help you,” Greenert, chief of naval operations of the U.S. Navy, told students of the National Defense College of the Philippines in response to a question about a hypothetical Chinese occupation of one of the disputed Spratly Islands, {Reuters} wrote.

“I don’t know what that help would be specifically. I mean, we have an obligation because we have a treaty. But, I don’t know in what capacity that help is.”

“I think you may have seen some statements coming from our policy-makers exactly in that direction, you will see more of that from us,” he said, adding he believed China wanted to be clear on where the United States stood.

The Philippines Inquirer adds, “the parties involved and the U.S. should have a serious conversation on the matter of the disputed territories and the basis of China in claiming the islands before the dispute spills over to war. ‘We don’t want conflict, we don’t want combat, we have to manage this and sit down and talk about it,’ he said.

Greenert reflected Pentagon policy of encouraging “mil-mil” cooperation with China while also maintaining a deterrent against ANY party escalating to confrontation. $5 trillion/year in commerce passes through the South China Sea, and 60 percent of the territory is disputed among various parties, so U.S. force presence and efforts to prevent conflict are essential. White House policies may strongly contradict that, but…

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