Date: 08-06-2001

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HONOLULU (Aug. 6) -- Asian nations are realizing more and more that regional military cooperation is a "vital component of a durable security structure," the commander of U.S. Pacific forces said today at the East-West Center.

"No framework for security in the Asia-Pacific region will be complete without unprecedented cooperation among regional armed forces," Adm. Dennis C. Blair, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (CINCPAC) told senior policymakers, defense officials and academic experts from the United States and the Asia-Pacific region.

"In many cases, insurgency and communal violence are closely tied to transnational terrorism, drug trafficking, piracy and other criminal activities. No nation can deal with these transnational challenges alone."

Blair said there is growing awareness that force alone will not quell insurgency without political accommodation. "There is an increasing realization that heavy-handed military tactics against insurgencies not only create international infamy, but are counterproductive -- they build support for insurgents, and undermine trust in the efficiency and skill of armed forces."

Blair listed some of the regional concerns about multinational efforts: that they will dilute bilateral relations, cover reduced U.S. involvement in the region, or act as a way to exclude and contain China. "In fact our bilateral relations form the foundation for enhanced regional cooperation...address the broad range of security challenges that none can solve alone," Blair said, and "increase China's involvement in the region in constructive ways."

He added that "holdovers of past conflicts" such as Korea, the Taiwan Strait and Kashmir should not "dominate our security agenda."

Blair spoke at the East-West Center's three-day Senior Policy Seminar 2001. Participants include U.S. Congressman Doug Bereuter, House of Representatives, Nebraska; Ambassador Stephen W. Bosworth, Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Tunisia and the Philippines; President Leo A. Falcam, Federated States of Micronesia; Gu Ziping, Deputy Director-General, Department of Arms Control and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China; Han Sung-Joo, professor of political science at Korea University and former Foreign Minister of South Korea; James A. Kelly, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; Ambassador Le Van Bang, Vietnam Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs; Surin Pitsuwan, member of Parliament and former Thai Foreign Minister; Krishnamurthi Santhanam, incoming Director, Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, India; Yukio Satoh, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations; and Hugh J. White, Deputy Secretary, Department of Defense, Australia.
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