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Pentagon: Pivot to Asia not about China

Oct. 4, 2012 at 11:55 AM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. defense shift to the Asia-Pacific region isn't about balancing against China but about ensuring prosperity in the region, a U.S. defense official said.

U.S. forces are refocusing efforts to the Asia-Pacific region now that the war in Iraq is over and the engagement with Afghanistan is drawing to a close.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said at the end of a tour of the region in August that a continued focus on the Asia-Pacific region was "one of the most prominent and important" issues for the U.S. Department of Defense.

In an address at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, Carter said the rebalance wasn't about China, however.

"It's not about any other individual country or group of countries," he said. "It's about a peaceful Asia-Pacific region, where all countries can enjoy the benefit of security and continue to prosper."

He noted that some U.S. Marines are rotating to Australia while the U.S. Air Force maneuvers its F-22 Raptor to the Kadena Air Force Base in Japan.

"Said differently, we are sending our newest assets to the Asia-Pacific region first," he said.

The key objective of the balance, however, was to promote a transparent and sustainable defense relationship with Beijing, the deputy secretary of defense said.

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