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Washington(Reuters): The US seeks the rise of China and India to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has said.
“I’m not one of those people who believes war, cold or otherwise, with China is likely. It’s certainly not desirable,” Carter said in his remarks yesterday at Harvard Institute of Politics JFK Junior Forum.
“But you don’t get anything for free in this world. We have to create the conditions under which change can occur, including a change of great consequence in the Asia-Pacific region in a way that is — preserves the peace and stability,” he said.
“That the peace and stability that for 70 years has allowed prosperity and the rise of, first of Japan, then of South Korea, Taiwan, Southeast Asia. Today China and India. This is good. But it has been able to occur because there has been peace and stability in the region,” the Defence Secretary said.
Carter said the single most important factor in that 70-year history has been the pivotal role of American military power in the region. The US aims to keep that going, he said. “Now, that’s not a matter of stopping China from rising.
It’s on the contrary. That’s not our approach at al. Our approach is everybody rises. That’s fine with us. It’s not to exclude. Our approach has always been an inclusive one. So we actually seek to include China, India,” Carter said.
Responding to a question, Carter at the same time insisted that China needs to play its role. “What has worked for 70 years in this region and has allowed everyone, including China and if Chinese think about it, and many do recognise that this has been great for China.
China can do its own thing, raise hundreds of millions out of poverty, develop in a way that is congenial to China,” he said.
China, he alleged has been dredging islands in the South China sea, and making unilateral claims to territory. “Now, they’re not the only ones that are doing that out there. There are other countries that have been doing the same. We oppose that, we say, that’s no way to stake claims, by China or anyone else,” Carter said.