|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||May 25, 2014 01:48 AM EDT|
Admiral Samuel Locklear III
The United States is in the process of building a new "security architecture" among its allies in the Asia-Pacific in response to China's increasingly aggressive moves in the disputed South China Sea.
The security alliance will consist of the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia and Japan, according to unnamed official sources in the Philippine government. Press reports from Manila said Washington also wants to include Singapore and Thailand in the alliance while encouraging Malaysia to become its strategic partner.
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The Philippines and Vietnam are at the forefront of resisting China's moves to claim the entire South China Sea, which is called the West Philippine Sea by the Philippines and the East Sea by Vietnam.
News about the US-led security architecture brushes aside continuous warnings from China against any military alliances in the region.
Press reports said the US is not considering building new military bases in the region. Washington will, instead, work with its closest allies that it sees as "spokes" or the backbones of the proposed alliance.
Admiral Samuel Locklear III, Commander of the US Pacific Command, said during a forum on security at the just ended World Economic Forum on East Asia held in the Philippines that for business to continue in the Asia-Pacific, "there has to be some kind of security architecture" in place.
Admiral Locklear talked about this new security architecture at a secret, closed-door WEF meeting attended by Philippine officials and security experts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN.
He described China's contentious Nine-Dash Line as "rather ambiguous" and called for the maintenance of the status quo in the disputed South China Sea.
He emphasized that a "winner-take-all" attitude, which refers to China, will not work in the region.
In a sop to China, Admiral Locklear said that US policy is not to contain China. He noted that Beijing's and Washington's interests converge on 80 percent of issues. It's the balance of 20 percent that's causing friction.
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