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U.S. Pacific goals: contain China and North Korea.

Pacific Region Security News - USS Gerald R. Ford supercarrier will join the U.S. navy fleet in 2015 and positioned in the Asia Pacific region

The U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, speaking at an annual security forum in Singapore, announced the U.S. strategy for The Pacific region: to contain China’s emergence as a global power.

Therefore the United States will move a majority of its warships to the Asia-Pacific region by 2020, Panetta said on Saturday, giving details of a new U.S. military strategy for the world.

The former CIA Director said that the United States would reposition its Navy fleet so 60 percent of its battleships would be assigned in the Asia-Pacific Region, up 20% of what it is now, while maintaining six aircraft carriers in the region.

During his speech Secretary Panetta acknowledged differences between U.S. and China on a range of issues, including the South ChinaSea, including Taiwan.

The security forum held in Singapore is  the Shangri-La Dialogue,  attended by senior civilian leaders and military leaders from about 30 Asia-Pacific nations.

However, Secretary Leon Panetta recognized the need of a good relationship with China by saying that “we also both (U.S. and China) understand that there really is no other alternative but for both of us to engage and to improve our communications and to improve our (military-to-military) relationships,”  Panetta said. “That’s the kind of mature relationship that we ultimately have to have with China.”

Off the record, some Chinese officials have been critical of the U.S. shift of military emphasis to the Asia Pacific Region, seeing it as an attempt to fence in China and frustrate Beijing’s territorial claims, specially on Taiwan, Philippines (China has a standoff with Phillipines over the Scarborough Shoal near the Philippine coast) and some islands north from Japan.

China send  this year a  downgraded  representation to the Shangri-La Dialogue represented by the vice president of the Academy of Military Sciences.

The U.S. Government send a top representation, presided by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta  and  accompanied by General Martin Dempsey, who is the military’s top officer of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (its Chairman), and Admiral Samuel Locklear, the head of the U.S. Pacific Command.

The U.S. Defense Secretary is also having a seven-day visit to the Pacific region (including India and Vietnam)  to explain to allies and partners the practical meaning of the new strategy calling for rebalancing American forces to focus on the Pacific.

Panetta also discussed with the Philippines Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin about the strategy to contain China.

The South China Sea , the Indian Ocean  and the Strait of Malacca are equally vital to the U.S. and the nations in the Pacific, to protect commerce and trade.

Panetta also met other officers like:

– the Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan Jin

– the Japanese Defense Vice Minister Shu Watanabe

Under the plans Panetta announced on Saturday, that when the USS Enterprise )seacarrier) retires this year, will be replaced by  the new carrier USS Gerald R. Ford in 2015, completing a fleet of six seacarriers in the Region.

The U.S. Navy wilol reinforce his fleet from 282 ships, including support vessels, as of March,  to  a 300-ship fleet, according to a 30-year Navy shipbuilding projection released in March.

The main allies of the U.S. in the region are Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and also India, Singapore and Indonesia.

Panetta expects that some of the allies will also cooperate to contain China, f.e. with  the rotational Navy deployment agreement it has with Australia. The U.S. is working a similar agreement with the Philippines.

Panetta said Washington will also increase the number and size of bilateral and multilateral military training exercises it conducts in the region, (172 exercises during 2011) .