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General tells of 'opportunity' in Pacific

Feb. 20, 2012 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. military's greater focus on the Pacific region is "more opportunity than liability" in improving ties with China, Gen. Martin Dempsey said.

Speaking on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said the military decided to rebalance toward the Pacific.

"I think this is more opportunity than liability to improve our relationship with China and I am personally committed to having that as the outcome rather than get into an arms race or into some kind of confrontation with China," the general said.

The strategy shift has been widely reported as concerns rise about China's military buildup and its stand in the resource-rich South China Sea over the claims of some its neighbors.

China's official Xinhua new agency, which carried the latest report, said the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama had launched, with big fanfare, its "Pivot to Asia" since late last year.

The move aroused widespread suspicion it was aimed at containing the rise of China's influence in the Asia-Pacific region, Xinhua said.

The report said that during Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the United States last week the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to further boost their cooperative partnership and promote steady and sound development of bilateral military ties.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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