US shift of naval fleet to Pacific ‘untimely’: China
BEIJING - Agence France-PresseChina said yesterday a U.S. decision to shift the bulk of its naval fleet to the Pacific by 2020 was “untimely” and called on Washington to respect its interests in the region.
The decision to deploy more ships to the Pacific Ocean and to expand defense partnerships in the region, announced by Pentagon chief Leon Panetta on June 2, reflects U.S. concerns over China’s rising economic and military might. “The practice of strengthening military deployment and alliances to give prominence to a military and security agenda is untimely,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters in response to a question on the U.S. announcement.
In his speech to the Shangri-La Dialogue, a major Asia security summit held in Singapore, Panetta said that “by 2020, the Navy will re-posture its forces from today’s roughly 50/50 percent split between the Pacific and the Atlantic to about a 60/40 split between those oceans.
“Beijing hoped the U.S. side will respect the interests and concerns of all parties in the Asia Pacific, including China,” Liu said.