"In this next century, the global economic center, where most of the trade that's going to happen with the US will come from, will be predominately from the Asia Pacific," the US Pacific Command (PACOM) Commander, Samuel Locklear, told reporters at a news conference in Washington.

He said that it would seem to him that positioning a larger portion of our navy into the world's largest ocean over time would not be something that could be viewed as unusual, particularly since, he thought that the US' economic focus and  US' security focus will continue to be in the Asia Pacific.

"So to the degree that the navy in Asia Pacific will have challenges, we, all the US military forces that are under my command work very closely with those of our allies and our partners. So the security in the region is about all of us, not just about the US Navy or the US military presence in one place or the other," he said.

The Asia Pacific region covers about 51 percent of the globe. "In this [area of responsibility] AOR, there are two of the three largest economies in the world, and seven of the 10 smallest, two of the most populated nations in the world, and the smallest republic. The Asia Pacific is the engine that drives the global economy," he said.

There is USD 8 trillion of two-way trade in this region. 50 percent of the world’s cargo trade moves in this part of the world. And 70 percent of all the ship-borne energy assets move in this region every day. "It's also the most militarized part of the world. Seven of the world's 10 largest-standing armies are in this part. The world's largest and most sophisticated navies are here, and five of the world's declared nuclear nations are in this area of responsibility," Locklear said.

"Now, it’s not without challenges. Certainly, from severe weather patterns, through natural disasters that potentially impact a large population of the world. As we know today, there are about 6.8, 6.9 billion people in the world and well over half of them live in this part of the world and that number is increasing,” Locklear said.

"There are transnational threats from terrorism to drug trafficking to illegal activity to human trafficking and slave trafficking. There are historic and emerging territorial disputes that you're all very familiar with. There will be a continued growing competition for water and food and energy as the region grows. And of course, there is instability on the Korean Peninsula that continues," he said.

"The rise of China, the rise of India in how they play as global economic and regional military powers is being determined as we speak. There is no single governance mechanism in this vast region to manage all the security relationships. There are many complex bilateral, multilateral, growing multilateral relationships that have to be contemplated,” Locklear said.

US has a growing strategic partnership with China and as such it is important that they communicate on all levels of the society and government, he said. "So to have the militaries not communicating with each other just doesn’t make a lot of sense. We're very connected in many, many different ways across all of our societies.

It is important that military leaders establish relationships that let them understand each other," Locklear said.

(Agencies)

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