Admiral Advocates For Increased Military Presence In East Asia

REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Alexis Bowen Contributor
Font Size:

Retired U.S. Navy Admiral Dennis C. Blair told members on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday that he believes military presence in East Asia should be increased in reaction to Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.

Blair, who served as President Obama’s first U.S. Director of National Intelligence, told the committee that as China’s relations with its neighbors worsen due to its aggressive policies, there will be opportunities for the U.S. to improve relations with East Asian countries. Many of these partnerships will allow for increased U.S. military presence as East Asian countries attempt to ward off China and protect their borders.

This committee hearing comes in the wake of a decision given by The Hague, one of the UN’s international courts, that China infringed on the Philippines’ sovereignty by creating artificial islands in Filipino territory and violating on Filipino fishing rights in international waters.

In reaction to the ruling, China has refused to acknowledge the decision, and the Chinese Communist Party has threatened to escalate militarily. However, increasing aggression will only harm the country in the long run, according to former top State Department official Kurt M. Campbell, as foreign relations sour.

Admiral Blair urged the committee to take advantage of China’s aggression not only by establishing more of a military presence in East Asia, but also by taking a firm stance against China’s actions.

In the past, the U.S. has not done enough to oppose these actions, he said.

“We need to fashion a response to China’s aggression that supports our basic interests and is tailored to these certain instances,” instead of simply running military training missions in the region without a certain goal in mind, Blair told the committee.

The admiral also stated that it will be key for the United States to hold onto the military presence it currently has in the area. U.S. freedom to traverse land and sea will be crucial in enabling the U.S. to protect allies in the region as China continues its to attempt to nationalize international waters and expand its boundaries.