US stations 1,200 special forces in Asia-Pacific

The United States Pacific Command has stationed more than 1,200 special forces troops in the Asia-Pacific along with the latest advancements in weapons technology to contain China’s rising presence in the region, reports the Beijing-based Sina Military Network.

America’s most recent national military strategy issued in February made it clear that the US is, has been and always will be a Pacific nation, adding that Washington has maintained diverse relations with various Asian countries while also strengthening its military presence in the Asia Pacific for the sake of ensuring regional security. Indeed, the US has been active in building stronger ties with Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines, and has also been exploring partnerships with Southeast Asian nations such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

It is clear that the main competitor to US control of the region is China, said Sina Military, though Washington is also pursuing stronger ties with Beijing as it is in the interests of both sides. Accordingly, Washington needs to be prepared to resolve obstacles between the two sides through peaceful and diplomatic means, but it also needs to be ready for the possibility of a sudden conflict.

The arm of the US armed forces responsible for the Asia Pacific is the United States Pacific Command, whose jurisdiction also includes Alaska and the North Pole, the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. In total, the area of responsibility of the Pacific Command covers 36 counties — five of which have nuclear weapons — and more than 50% of the world’s population and surface area.

According to Sina Military, US experts have identified their main security risks in the Asia Pacific as the rising terrorist threat among Southeast Asian countries, the development of nuclear weapons in North Korea, and China’s nuclear potential. In particular, China’s global influence and military might has been highlighted as a growing danger, with the DF-5 intercontinental ballistic missile being able to strike targets 13,000 kilometers away and sea-based ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads destroying targets within a 1,700-km radius.

China will become the greatest threat to US security if it continues to upgrade its military prowess at the current pace, the article said, adding that a major regional conflict is not out of the question given that more than half of the military conflicts in the Asia-Pacific since midway through the 20th century — and 80% over the last 20 years — have involved China in some capacity.

Full article: US stations 1,200 special forces in Asia-Pacific (Want China Times)

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