US strategy must specifically address China’s rising military power as a key part of its more general shift in focus to the Asia-Pacific region, said British defense minister Phillip Hammond on July 18 in Washington, D.C. “The rising strategic importance of the Asia-Pacific region requires all countries, but particularly the United States, to reflect in their strategic posture the emergence of China as an emerging power,” stressed Hammond during an address at the Center for a New American Security. “Far from being concerned about the tilt to Asia-Pacific, the European NATO powers should welcome the fact that the US is willing to engage this new strategic challenge on behalf of the alliance,” he added. Because of the US change of emphasis, Britain will increasingly “seek to collaborate more closely with NATO allies France and Germany to ensure the defense of the European continent,” stated Hammond, who is on an official visit to the United States this week. Despite this “recalibration” of responsibility within NATO, Hammond stressed changes are “not the end of Atlanticism,” but rather a “more balanced era” of burden sharing within the alliance.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.