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U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Says U.S. Ready for Any Contingency in the South China Sea

U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Says U.S. Ready for Any Contingency in the South China Sea

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July 18 (EIRNS)–Admiral Scott Swift, the new commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, told reporters in Manila, yesterday, that the U.S. is ready for any contingency in the South China Sea, despite budget cuts that are overtaking the U.S. military. According to a report in the Associated Press, he said that the Navy may deploy more than the four Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) in the Pacific that it is already committed to forward basing in Singapore, and he said that he was “very interested” in expanding annual military exercises that the U.S. Navy co-sponsors with each of several countries in the region into a multi-national drill, possibly including Japan. Swift said he was “very satisfied with the resources that I have available to me as the Pacific Fleet commander,” adding “we are ready and prepared to respond to any contingency that the President may suggest would be necessary.” As far as the South China Sea, goes, he insisted that the U.S. doesn’t take sides on the territorial disputes but that the U.S. would press ahead with insuring freedom of navigation, there.

Swift arrived in the Philippines, on July 16 for a four day visit, just six weeks after taking command of U.S. Pacific Fleet. He met with Philippines defense chief Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri for 30 minutes, yesterday, during which they “engaged in friendly banter and had frank exchanges on various security topics,” reported the {Manila Inquirer}.

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