US Pacific Command calls for peaceful Diaoyutais solution
By Joseph Yeh,The China Post
February 2, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The U.S. Pacific Command chief yesterday called on all parties involved in the East China Sea territorial dispute to address the issue peacefully without resorting to military actions.
Speaking to journalists throughout the Asia-Pacific region in a telephone conference yesterday, Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III expressed hope that the row will be resolved in a peaceful fashion and without coercion.
"And that it ultimately will be satisfied and decided between the governments and without the use of force," Locklear added.
The commander's remarks came in response to a question on the escalating tension between Japan and China over the Diaoyutai Islands and whether the U.S. will step in if a military conflict occurs between the two countries.
Locklear said he would not speculate on what Washington will do "militarily" in any contingency anywhere in the world.
The admiral reiterated that it is U.S. policy to "not take sides in territorial disputes" involving other countries.
He noted, however, that to even contemplate the use of force to address the issue is "unacceptable."
Locklear, instead, suggested that countries involved engage in dialogue aimed at working together to produce a secure environment that allows one another to get through the disagreements.
When asked about whether he supports the East China Sea Peace Initiative proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou, Locklear said he is not in a position to support or not support what Ma and the people of Taiwan decide to do.
"I will defer that question to the people of Taiwan," he added.
The Diaoyutais, called the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan. They are currently under Japan's administrative control, but are also claimed by Taiwan and China.
US' Asia Pivot Focuses on Cooperation
During his opening remarks in the telephone conference, Locklear said that the U.S. government's "rebalancing" toward the Asia-Pacific region is part of "a strategy of collaboration and cooperation."
"We are also going to strengthen our commitment to our partners in the region in a multinational form, such as ASEAN and East Asia summit," he said.
The U.S. commander also noted that Washington will continue to pursue a relationship with Beijing, including a military-military relationship.
He stressed that it is in the interest of both Washington and Beijing to have regional peace, stability and a bilateral relationship.
Washington also hopes to advance ties with China in areas such as counterterrorism, anti-piracy efforts, humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
Locklear said that as China is growing as an economic power and a regional security partner, "we should make sure that we have a robust dialogue" economically, politically and militarily to help China to pursue the position it should pursue.