Carter Touts Inclusive Regional Security in Asia-Pacific

The United States seeks a “shared regional architecture that is strong enough, capable enough, and connected enough to ensure that all Asia-Pacific peoples and nations have the opportunity to rise,” said Defense Secretary Ash Carter in his speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. Transparency and inclusiveness have to be hallmarks of future security cooperation between Asian countries, the United States, and others, he said in the May 30 address. This ensures the “guiding principles” that have provided peace and stability in the region for decades are not endangered, such as the “right to freedom of navigation and overflight,” he said. A joint statement released that same day following Carter’s meeting with his Australian and Japanese counterparts re-emphasized those points. In it, the three defense ministers expressed opposition to the use of “coercion or force” to alter the status quo in the East China Sea and South China Sea. They also pledged to enhance multilateral cooperation, including expanding the trilateral air exercise Cope North held on Guam and having Japanese personnel participate in the next iteration of the US-Australia exercise Talisman Saber in July. Carter also held unilateral meetings with his counterparts from Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore at the event. (See also Carter Returns to Asia for Shangri-La Dialogue.)