353 words - September 3, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
Before participating in the annual ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting + 8 (ADMM-Plus), US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has paid relevant visits to Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
As a preparation of President Barack Obama's visit to Indonesia next October, Mr. Hagel has reiterated his country's commitment to "working with Southeast Asian nations to grow defense capabilities and deepen military-to-military cooperation," and he has praised the "strong and enduring security partnership that has been built between the US and Indonesia."
To help Indonesia respond to "a range of contingencies", the US government has agreed to sell eight new Apache AH-64E attack helicopters and Longbow radars – worth about USD 500 million – to Indonesia. That is not Indonesia has now the means to disrupt the strategic balance of the region, but the fact that the US green-lighted the export of such advanced technologies that does has some relevance, DiploNews noted.
In Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, Secretary Hagel told the Malaysian Institute of Defense and Security that "a key component of US security strategy is to help nations and institutions across Southeast Asia improve their capabilities to address complex threats and challenges." That's why the US and Malaysia are now significant regional and global partners whose relations have become "strong", "thriving" and "special".
In his meeting with Filipino President in Manila, Secretary Hagel "noted that the deep and unbreakable alliance between the US and the Philippines is an anchor for peace and stability and prosperity in this region." And 62 years after the mutual defense treaty (1951) was signed, the two countries "are working hard to finish" a Framework Agreement that will, like what has been done recently in Singapore and Australia, increase the US rotational presence in the Philippines and improve the ability of both countries' forces to train and operate together.
"The US rebalance should not be misinterpreted," said Secretary Hagel. Yet the US "responsibilities" across the globe have been military-related for a large part, – "defense diplomacy" – therefore upgrading the strategic environment of the Asia-Pacific region.
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