Sunday, February 22, 2009

USPACOM Commander Concludes Asia-Pacific Visit

Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, met with senior government and military officials in Thailand, Japan and South Korea this past week during a five-day Asia-Pacific trip that ended Feb. 20.

While in Thailand, the admiral attended the closing ceremonies of Exercise Cobra Gold 2009. Senior officials from the participating members of Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, and the U.S. met to review the highlights of the multilateral exercise and express their appreciation for the collective efforts of those involved. In particular, Adm. Keating noted that Exercise Cobra Gold 2009 was "a clear demonstration of all of our countries' commitment to peace security and prosperity throughout the region."

The trip also included a brief stop in Hong Kong which coincided with the presence of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis. The visit to Hong Kong provided Adm. Keating an opportunity to visit the ship and its leadership while engaging with Hong Kong officials. The admiral also met with a group of journalists at the U.S. Consulate during the visit. Many of the questions focused on the status of U.S. and China military-to-military relations. The admiral expressed optimism for the resumption of dialogue and stressed the importance of the two sides working together toward a common goal of security throughout the Asia-Pacifc region.

"This goes to our long term desire to have them operate with us rather than against us. To understand what it is we are about and we develop an understanding of what they are about," said Keating. "The Asia Pacific region is vast. It is full of opportunity and full of potential. There are the unmistakable challenges. We’d like to reduce the challenges. We want to walk away from opportunities where there could be confusion leading to conflict, leading to crisis. The more dialogue we have, the more inter-operating we do with them, the less chance for confusion and conflict and crisis."

In his calls on senior leaders throughout the trip, a common theme was the importance of partnership and readiness to deal with common challenges.

Adm. Keating routinely travels throughout the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility, meeting with his military counterparts and civilian leaders to promote security cooperation and explore opportunities for expanding existing relationships.

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