An Enduring Rebalance

The US rebalance to the Pacific “is not transient,” it’s “enduring,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter told leaders at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore last weekend. The US has “reenergized” diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region, is strengthening economic ties, and the military is “operationalizing its part of the rebalance,” Carter said on June 4. As part of that rebalance, the US is sending “its best people” and most advanced capabilities—including F-22s, F-35s, and continuous deployments of B-52s and B-2s—to the region, he said. But even as the United States continues to be “the most powerful military and main underwriter of security” in the Asia-Pacific “for decades to come,” growing relationships with countries in the region show that other nations are “committed to doing more” to promote security, he said. Still, he said, there is “growing anxiety” about China’s activity in the South China Sea, as well as in cyberspace and airspace. The US will continue to stand with other nations to uphold principles like freedom of navigation, he said, and “will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, so that everyone in the region can do the same.” Carter said he hopes to strengthen ties with China, including expanding military-to-military agreements with the country; he will travel to Beijing later this year. Carter returned from Singapore this weekend and Monday joined the Indian prime minister to lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, before their meeting Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.