Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Correcting the Record -- The Straits Times Dec. 12 article with Adm. Keating

The Straits Times (Singapore) recently published and posted an article to their online subscription news service as a result of an interview they conducted with Adm. Timothy J. Keating, who is the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, regarding the potential for a naval arms race in Asia-Pacific.

Overall, the reporter outlines why he does not envision a naval arms race in Asia-Pacific, citing several sources.

It is an interesting read with one comment from Adm. Keating unfortunately being misplaced. The reporter inadvertently placed a quote by Adm. Keating in the incorrect context leading readers to believe that U.S. Pacific Command views China as a definite threat, which is not the case.

The reporter has acknowledged this unfortunate mistake and noted that he meant to write that the admiral did not think China would pose a threat.

The correct question and context of this particular exchange is below:

Straits Times: "I want to cite your national maritime strategy that came out last year where you talked about deterrence and you were talking about you will not permit conditions under which the maritime process will be impeded from freedom of maneuver and freedom of access. Now it is speculated that the Chinese are trying to deny kind of access to the Taiwan Strait for example. Do you think you have the capability to actually counter any Chinese power projection in that area?"

ADM Keating: "I don’t think it, I know it."

Media: “Do you think they are actually trying to deny you access?”

ADM Keating: “I think they are pursuing development of systems that could be used to attempt to deny us. Our conversations with them say don’t bother, you’re not going to be able to. You might make it painful; you won’t prevail, so why bother? Why not engage in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration with all of us and enjoy access to the maritime domains by contributing to the security of the domains, not by challenging the security of the domains."

Adm. Keating also discussed the importance of engagement with China and throughout the region as the best approach for helping to ensure security, stability and prosperity. U.S Pacific Command continues to stress the importance of a collaborative approach to security through partnership.

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