The story of U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region is one of continuity, but
within that larger context there is change and reaffirmation. The Department of Defense
issued its first and second East Asian Strategy Reports (EASR) in 1990 and 1992,
respectively, to outline the changes we would make in our strategy and force structure in
response to the end of the Cold War. In 1995, DOD issued a third report, this time noting
that continuing areas of uncertainty and tension require a reaffirmation of our security
commitments to the region. Where the 1990 and 1992 reports anticipated reductions in our
forward deployed forces, the 1995 report confirmed our intention to maintain approximately
100,000 troops in the region for the foreseeable future, while increasing our efforts to
share security responsibilities with our friends and allies, and to broaden bilateral and
Based on this approach, we have taken a series of strategic steps over the past three
years to reduce areas of uncertainty and to reinforce the regions progress toward
economic prosperity and political cooperation:
- Through the Quadrennial Defense Review, we have confirmed our ability and intention to
maintain a robust overseas military presence of approximately 100,000 in the region, while
harnessing new technology to retain our lead in capabilities;
- We have strengthened our alliance with Japan through the April 1996 Joint Security
Declaration and the September 1997 revised Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation,
working within the framework of our alliance relationship to enhance security cooperation
and readiness with Japan;
- We have expanded our security cooperation and military access in Southeast Asia, while
working with ASEAN states to enhance region-wide dialogue and confidence-building through
the ASEAN Regional Forum;
- We are working with South Korea and China to engage North Korea through the Four Party
Talks on a formula for reducing tensions and making the transition from armistice to
lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula;
- We reaffirmed our security alliance with Australia through the 1996 Joint Security
Declaration ("Sydney Statement") pledging mutual cooperation on regional and
global security concerns;
- We continue to build the foundation for a long-term relationship with China based on
comprehensive engagement, as reflected in the 1997 and 1998 Clinton-Jiang Summits and as
typified by a range of military exchanges and security dialogues;
- We have worked with our friends and allies in the region to initiate new mechanisms for
transparency and confidence building, including trilateral and multilateral meetings;
defense forums; and combined education at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in
- We have focused attention on the threat from weapons of mass destruction, addressing
potential proliferation through the Agreed Framework and missile nonproliferation talks
with North Korea, and improving our capabilities for counterproliferation through various
means, including research and development of theater missile defense.
These steps are credible and sustainable because they are clearly in the interests of
the United States, our allies and partners. Countries in the region watch our level of
commitment as a key determinant of regional peace and stability. The dispatch of USS
Nimitz and USS Independence during the March 1996 crisis, for instance, reaffirmed to
Asia-Pacific nations U.S. commitment to peace and stability in the region. Consistent with
our global security strategy, U.S. engagement in Asia provides an opportunity to help
shape the regions future, prevent conflict and provide the stability and access that
allows us to conduct approximately $500 billion a year in trans-Pacific trade.
While our policies since the 1995 EASR have confirmed U.S. commitment to the region and
strengthened bilateral relationships, areas of uncertainty remain and new challenges have
emerged. North Koreas August 1998 missile launch and uncertainty over its commitment
and adherence to the Agreed Framework threaten to set back the prospect for renewed
South-North dialogue and progress in Four Party Talks to reduce tensions on the Peninsula
and achieve a peace treaty. The Asian financial crisis has shaken the regions
assumptions about uninterrupted economic development and is testing regional economic
cooperation, globalization, and the livelihood of two billion Asians. The nuclear tests
conducted by India and Pakistan in May 1998 also add new complications not only for South
Asia but also for security calculations of Asia-Pacific nations.
Indonesias economic and political difficulties will pose challenges to the
established order both internally and in the region. In Cambodia and Burma, domestic
crises threaten the regions progress toward stable political cooperation. Historical
mistrust and territorial disputes, including those in the South China Sea and elsewhere,
remain unresolved, providing potential flashpoints over issues of sovereignty and
nationalism. Crises outside the region, particularly in the Arabian Gulf, increasingly
affect regional security, as Asia becomes more dependent on Gulf oil supplies for economic
In spite of these challenges, however, we still see a region mostly at peace, where
interests converge and the reservoir of political will to deal with new challenges runs
deep. The intention of the United States is to help dampen the sources of instability by
maintaining a policy of robust engagement, overseas presence and strengthened alliances,
while searching for new opportunities to increase confidence and a spirit of common
security. Where our strategy during the Cold War was primarily one of worldwide strategic
deterrence, today we must deter actions in critical localized areas, such as the Korean
Peninsula, while maintaining our capability to respond to crises should they emerge
anywhere around the world. In time of peace, our responsibility also extends to taking
actions that shape the strategic environment to sustain the peace and prevent conflict
In this way, U.S. security strategy in the Asia-Pacific region reflects and supports
our global security strategy. DODs 1997 Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review
(QDR) presented the three integrated concepts of Shape, Respond, and Prepare: the United
States will remain globally engaged to shape the international environment; respond to the
full spectrum of crises; and prepare now for an uncertain future.
The United States aims to promote a stable, secure, prosperous and peaceful
Asia-Pacific community in which the United States is an active player, partner and
beneficiary. This fourth East Asia Strategy Report is not being issued because of a change
in our security strategy. Our priorities remain constant, but as always, we remain ready
to promote fresh approaches to security in response to changes in the regional
Finally, the EASR process itself represents a fundamental U.S. interest to promote
openness and transparency of force structure, defense strategy and military doctrine
throughout the region. Transparency fosters understanding, and enhances trust and
confidence among nations. Other nations may choose to challenge elements of this report,
but they cannot claim ignorance of American intentions, approach and status in the
Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. welcomes honest dialogue concerning this report as
constructive for mutual understanding and trust, and we encourage the continued
development of similar public documents throughout the region to promote these ends.
Section 1. MAINTAINING
COMPREHENSIVE ENGAGEMENT: "PRESENCE PLUS"
Maintaining an overseas military presence is a cornerstone of U.S. National Security
Strategy and a key element of U.S. military policy of "shape, respond, and
prepare." In Asia, U.S. force presence plays a particularly key role in promoting
peace and security in regional affairs. However, this presence, while serving a critical
shaping function, is but one element of general U.S. overseas engagement in the
Asia-Pacific region that includes everything from conventional diplomacy, to international
trade and investment, to people-to-people contact in educational, scientific and cultural
exchanges. The U.S. military role itself, reflected in the USCINCPAC Theater Engagement
Plan, is far broader and more actively constructive in host countries than simply waiting
for military action. The diversity of U.S. activity reflects comprehensive U.S. overseas
engagement to protect and promote security interests in Asia, or "Presence
[Box (entitled United States Pacific Command (USPACOM), with insignia):The United
States Pacific Command (USPACOM) is geographically the largest unified command in the U.S.
defense structure. It stretches from the west coast of the Americas to the east coast of
Africa, and from the Arctic to the Antarctic. USPACOMs area of responsibility
includes the Pacific, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean,
encompassing 43 countries. The Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (USCINCPAC),
commands approximately 300,000 personnel of all U.S. services, about one-fifth of the
total U.S. Armed Forces. Approximately 100,000 of USCINCPACs military personnel are
forward deployed in the Asia-Pacific region.]
1.0 Principles of U.S. Military Presence in Asia
U.S. military presence in Asia has long provided critical practical and symbolic
contributions to regional security. Our forces stationed in Japan and Korea, as well as
those rotated throughout the region, promote security and stability, deter conflict, give
substance to our security commitments and ensure our continued access to the region.
Our military presence in Asia serves as an important deterrent to aggression, often
lessening the need for a more substantial and costly U.S. response later. Today deterrent
capability remains critical in areas such as the Korean Peninsula. A visible U.S. force
presence in Asia demonstrates firm determination to defend U.S., allied and friendly
interests in this critical region.
In addition to its deterrent function, U.S. military presence in Asia serves to shape
the security environment to prevent challenges from developing at all. U.S. force presence
mitigates the impact of historical regional tensions and allows the United States to
anticipate problems, manage potential threats and encourage peaceful resolution of
disputes. Only through active engagement can the United States contribute to constructive
political, economic and military development within Asias diverse environment.
Forward presence allows the United States to continue playing a role in broadening
regional confidence, promoting democratic values and enhancing common security.
Overseas military presence also provides political leaders and commanders the ability
to respond rapidly to crises with a flexible array of options. Such missions may include
regional and extra-regional contingencies, from humanitarian relief, non-combatant
evacuation and peacekeeping operations to meeting active threats as in the Arabian Gulf.
During the Arabian Gulf crisis in early 1998, for example, USS Independence deployed to
the Gulf and was an important element of our deterrent force posture that alleviated the
crisis. Military presence also enhances coalition operations by promoting joint, bilateral
and combined training, and encouraging responsibility sharing on the part of friends and
1.1 Force Structure
The 1995 East Asia Strategy Report stated that the United States will maintain
approximately 100,000 U.S. military personnel in the Asia-Pacific region. This report
reaffirms that commitment. We will sustain our presence with contributions from all
military services, ensuring that we have maximum operational flexibility in the event of a
This force level in the region is based on our analysis of the strategic environment
for now and in the future, and the military capabilities needed to achieve our goals. The
presence of 100,000 U.S. military personnel is not arbitrary -- it represents the
formidable capabilities of the U.S. Eighth Army and Seventh Air Force in Korea, III Marine
Expeditionary Force and Fifth Air Force in Japan, and the U.S. Seventh Fleet, all focused
on shaping, responding and preparing as necessary to achieve security and stability in the
Important actions have been undertaken to enhance the ability of these forces. These
range from updated bilateral defense arrangements such as the Defense Guidelines with
Japan, to increasingly sophisticated exercises and training with countries in the region,
to the technological revolution that our militaries are now undergoing. All these
additions enhance our presence in the region.
1.2 U.S. Military Presence in Asia: Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia
U.S. bases in Japan and Korea remain the critical component of U.S. deterrent and rapid
response strategy in Asia. U.S. military presence in the region also enables the United
States to respond more rapidly and flexibly in other areas.
The basic outlines of U.S. force presence in Japan and Korea will remain constant.
Japanese peacetime host nation support (HNS) remains the most generous of any of
Americas allies around the world, averaging about $5 billion each year. Despite its
severe financial crisis, Korea too provides substantial support for maintenance of U.S.
troops, recognizing like Japan that HNS is a critical strategic factor in the alliance.
Both nations continue to modernize their forces and have procured substantial amounts
of U.S. equipment, services and weapons systems to enhance interoperability and
cooperation between alliance forces. In fact, the U.S. has more equipment in common with
Japan than any other ally.
Korea hosts the U.S. 7th Air Force, including the 8th and 51st Fighter Wings, and the
8th Army, including the 2nd Infantry Division. Japanese bases maintain the U.S. 5th Air
Force, including 18th Wing, 35th Fighter Wing and 374th Airlift Wing, Navy 7th Fleet,
including USS Kitty Hawk Carrier Battle Group and USS Belleau Wood Amphibious Ready Group,
III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), 9th Theater Area Army Command (TAACOM) and 1st USA
Special Forces Battalion. The diversity, flexibility and complementarity of our force
structure in the region provide credible and practical contributions to regional stability
The maintenance of a diverse and flexible force presence in Asia remains of fundamental
strategic importance to the U.S. In addition to providing U.S. commanders great
flexibility in tailoring forces to meet national objectives, a strategic mix is essential
to a credible deterrent posture because it presents an enemy with an overwhelming array of
capabilities against which to defend.
Southeast Asia and Australia
After the closure of our bases in the Philippines in 1992, the United States has
benefited from a series of access agreements and other arrangements with Southeast Asian
partners that have supported continued U.S. military engagement. These arrangements,
including port calls, repair facilities, training ranges and logistics support, have
become increasingly important to our overseas presence.
For example, Singapore announced in early 1998 that its Changi Naval Station, which
will be operational in the year 2000, will be available to U.S. naval combatants and
include a pier which can accommodate American aircraft carriers. In January 1998, the
United States and the Philippines negotiated a Visiting Forces Agreement that, when
ratified, will permit routine combined exercises and training, and ship visits. Thailand
remains an important refueling and transit point for possible operations to neighboring
trouble spots, including the Arabian Gulf. Australia has long provided key access to
facilities for U.S. unilateral and combined exercises in order to ensure readiness and
coordinated responses to regional contingencies. The existence of such arrangements
throughout the region underscores the increasing importance of Southeast Asia and
Australia to regional security, and their commitment to a credible and potent U.S.
overseas presence as a cornerstone of their security interests.
Additionally, U.S. port calls to Hong Kong have continued uninterrupted since the
reversion of Hong Kong to PRC sovereignty. These port calls also contribute constructively
to U.S. military presence in the region, allowing for minor maintenance and repair of
Although our overseas presence in Asia serves both regional and U.S. security
interests, the impact on local communities in host countries can be great. The United
States understands and appreciates the sacrifices of the citizens who live near training
areas or bases, and who sometimes endure noise and other inconveniences. U.S. forces work
to mitigate these effects and coordinate closely with officials at both the national and
local levels, and local citizens groups to reach mutually satisfactory arrangements.
In Japan, for instance, U.S. forces have relocated artillery training and, when
possible, carrier landing practice to alleviate the inconvenience to local residents. The
United States has also worked with Japan to establish quiet hours to minimize the impact
of routine air operations on local communities. In both Japan and Korea, there has been a
continuing effort to address environmental issues associated with its base presence. The
U.S. has pledged to work closely with Japanese and Korean authorities to ensure U.S.
military operations and maintenance of military facilities are carried out with due regard
for the environment and public safety.
The U.S. has also made progress to return base and training-related land, to alter
operational procedures in host countries in an effort to respond to local concerns, and to
be better neighbors while maintaining operational capabilities. For instance, the U.S. and
Japan established the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) process in 1995 to
consider ways to reduce the impact of the activities of U.S. forces on Okinawa with the
aim of alleviating the burden on the Okinawan people. The result was the SACO Final
Report, released in December 1996. The report outlined 27 measures to reduce, realign and
consolidate U.S. facilities and areas on Okinawa, adjust operational procedures and
improve implementation of the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement, such as timely
notification of all major accidents.
The SACO report presented a plan under which the U.S. would return 11 pieces of land,
encompassing 21 percent of the total area used by the United States on Okinawa. The
centerpiece of the land return program is the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station
Futenma from the crowded southern portion of Okinawa. The replacement facility will
maintain the airfields critical military functions and capabilities. The U.S. and
Japan remain strongly committed to implementation of the SACO Final Report.
In Korea, the United States and the Republic of Korea also completed negotiations in
December 1997 to return about 5,000 acres of U.S. Forces, Korea (USFK) training areas to
the ROK government. In exchange, U.S. forces in Korea secured access to ROK Army training
areas. In this way, the United States and ROK responded both to the needs of the people of
Korea and the mission requirements of USFK.
In addition, U.S. personnel have reemphasized the importance of being good guests who
make constructive contributions to the communities in which they live. U.S. forces and
their spouses in Japan and Korea, for instance, sponsor cultural and social events,
contribute to environmental clean-up activities, maintain local parks, provide assistance
to charitable institutions and contribute in a variety of other ways to improving their
1.3 Exercises, Training and Military Sales
U.S. strategy emphasizes the importance of active bilateral and multilateral exercise
programs between the United States services and the armed forces of friendly and allied
nations. Significant joint, combined and other smaller military-to-military exercises take
place annually with our allies in Japan, Korea, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Exercises serve as a visible demonstration of U.S. commitment to the region, improve
interoperability and readiness, and demonstrate our ability to form and lead effective
coalitions. Exercises promote burden sharing on the part of friends and allies and
facilitate regional integration. They exhibit our capabilities and resolve, and provide
realistic conditions for working with the technologies, systems and operational procedures
that will be crucial in times of crisis. International exercises also provide geographic
familiarity and foster an understanding of cultures, values and habits of other societies.
The United States also participates in a variety of combined training activities. These
include Mobile Training Teams (MTT), Joint and Combined Exchange Training (JCET), Subject
Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEE) and Observer Training. The International Military Education
and Training (IMET) and its component E-IMET (Expanded IMET) programs, which focus on
promoting responsible military values and lasting ties between U.S. and regional military
leaders, are also essential elements of U.S. regional strategy. Section 4 addresses the
benefits of IMET and E-IMET in greater detail.
U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programs also
play a key role in supporting our regional engagement strategy. FMS ensures critical
interoperability with allies and friends that facilitates coalition operations. FMF
programs enable key friends and allies to improve their defense capabilities by financing
acquisition of U.S. military articles, services and training. While only two countries --
Cambodia and Laos -- received FMF grants in FY97 (for demining operations), FMF may serve
as an effective tool in the future to assist our Asia-Pacific allies and friends as they
weather the current financial crisis.
1.4 Technological Revolution
The Department of Defense recognizes that even as we maintain the ready, versatile
forces necessary to meet the challenges of shaping and responding in the near term, we
must at the same time be transforming our forces, capabilities, and support structures to
be able to shape and respond effectively in the future. This transformation involves more
than the acquisition of new military systems. It means harnessing new technologies,
operational concepts and organizational structures to give U.S. forces greater mobility,
flexibility and military capabilities so they can dominate any future battlefield. In
1997, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff released Joint
Vision 2010 to address the impact of advances in technology and information systems on
U.S. military strategies, force structure and operations around the world.
The "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMA) that embodies this transformation
in U.S. military capabilities is already being felt in Asia. Advances in command, control,
communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance will combine with
the introduction of new weapons systems to revolutionize U.S. ability to respond rapidly
to any conflict and dominate any battlefield situation.
The United States will continue to ensure that we maintain interoperability with forces
of allied and partner nations. This can be achieved through joint research and
development, combined doctrine development and training, and a focus on the compatibility
The impact of the technological revolution on U.S. forces in Asia will be substantial,
supplementing our forward deployed personnel to enhance dramatically our operational
capabilities in the region. However, the full promise of RMA remains in the future. The
improvements in military hardware and support systems are not yet at the stage of
fundamentally altering our strategic perceptions or force structure in the region, or
elsewhere around the world.
[Separate box: Even as Asia-Pacific nations work to base their societies increasingly
on advanced, computer-based technologies, we must remain aware of, and indeed anticipate,
potential complications such modern and intricate systems may engender. The "Year
2000" (Y2K) computer problem, for instance, threatens to affect major public and
private operating systems around the world, with potentially substantial impact on
economic, social and military security in the Asia-Pacific region.
The "Y2K problem" is the term used to describe the potential failure of
information technology prior to, on or after January 1, 2000. The potential exists because
of the widespread practice of using two digits, not four, to represent the year in
computer databases, software applications and hardware chips. Difficulties will arise in
the Y2K when that year is 00 and information technology will be unable to differentiate it
from the year 1900.
DOD is taking the Y2K problem seriously and has generated cross-service work groups to
address the issue. Likewise, the United States encourages all nations in the region to
redouble their attention to the problem,and work together to anticipate and manage this
potential security challenge.]
1.5 Comprehensive Engagement
U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific Region to promote mutual security extends beyond
military bases and access to encompass a broad range of vehicles for promoting our
interests and influence. Our diplomatic missions serve at the forefront as the engine of
U.S. overall engagement with the region. U.S. trade and investment, cultural, social and
religious exchanges, foreign study and tourism all contribute markedly to comprehensive
and constructive U.S. overseas engagement in Asia. Approximately 400,000 U.S. citizens,
excluding military personnel and dependents, live, work and study in the region. Thousands
more travel to the region as tourists each year, serving as unofficial ambassadors of U.S.
values and friendship. U.S. businesses conduct more than $500 billion in trade and have
invested more than $150 billion throughout the region, serving in the process as exemplars
of the benefits of market capitalism.
The presence of U.S. military personnel in the region multiplies our diplomatic impact
through engagement with counterparts and the demonstration of professional military ethics
and conduct in a democratic society. The combination of U.S. political, military,
diplomatic, economic and social engagement that this activity in the region represents
reassures friendly nations and encourages pursuit of policies in U.S. and regional
interests. In this way, the full range and diversity of U.S. engagement in the
Asia-Pacific region must not be overlooked when considering the value of U.S. overseas
presence to security.
Section 2. ENHANCING OUR REGIONAL
The U.S. recognizes and reaffirms the critical role that our alliances play in securing
peace and stability in Asia. We also highly value the substantial progress we have made in
our bilateral and multilateral relationships throughout the region as we explore a range
of vehicles for promoting constructive ties among nations. These frameworks complement
rather than supplant one another, serving to promote general stability. The United States
welcomes continued development of such frameworks throughout the region as long as they
remain transparent and constructive.
Consistent with these principles, U.S. alliances in the region have long served as the
cornerstone of regional security. In contrast to Cold War-era alliances, they are not
directed at any third power but serve the interests of all who benefit from regional
stability and security. The United States views the reaffirmation and enhancement of these
alliances over the past three years, and the concurrent and complementary development of
constructive ties with non-allied states, as evidence of our continued confidence that an
integrated network of security relations is in the mutual interest of all Asia-Pacific
This section reviews the development of U.S. regional relationships over the past three
years. Section 6 will address our vision of the future course of these relationships into
the new century.
2.0 Strengthening the U.S.-Japan Alliance
The U.S.-Japan alliance remains the linchpin of our security strategy in Asia. The end
of the Cold War changed the security environment in Asia and challenged some assumptions
about the purpose and role of the alliance. The United States and Japan recognize the
fundamental and continuing contribution of the alliance to the defense of Japan and
regional peace and stability. Both sides have moved actively over the past three years to
update the framework and structure of joint cooperation to reflect the new environment.
In April 1996, President Clinton and Prime Minister Hashimoto issued the U.S.-Japan
Joint Declaration on Security, which reaffirmed the continued and growing importance of
our alliance to the security of both nations and to the stability of the Asia-Pacific
region. The Joint Declaration established a vision for preserving and strengthening the
bilateral security partnership. Included was an agreement to conduct a review of the 1978
Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation in order to update the alliance and enhance
bilateral defense cooperation.
The September 1997 release of revised Defense Guidelines marked a new era in U.S.-Japan
relations and regional security. Besides further outlining bilateral cooperation during
normal circumstances and for the defense of Japan, the new Guidelines provided the basis
for more effective bilateral cooperation during a regional crisis that affects
Japans peace and security.
In the new Guidelines, Japan has set forth a more definitive role in responding to
situations in areas surrounding Japan that will have an important influence on
Japans peace and security. For instance, the revised Guidelines outline Japanese
rear area support to U.S. forces responding to a regional contingency. This support may
include providing access to airfields, ports, transportation, logistics, and medical
support. Japan would also be able, as applicable, to cooperate and coordinate with U.S.
forces to conduct such missions and functions as minesweeping, search and rescue,
surveillance, and inspection of ships to enforce UN sanctions. By enhancing the
alliances capability to respond to crises, the revised Guidelines are an excellent
example of preventive diplomacy: they contribute to shaping the security environment by
improving deterrence and stability in the region.
Defense cooperation under the Guidelines will remain consistent with rights and
obligations set forth in the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, the
limitations of Japans Constitution and basic principles of international law. The
United States and Japan will determine independently whether to cooperate, consistent with
the Guidelines, in the event of a regional contingency. This decision will be based on the
nature of the situation. As such, the concept "situations in areas surrounding
Japan" embodied in the revised Guidelines is not geographical but situational.
During the review process, U.S. and Japanese officials engaged in extensive briefings
throughout the Asia Pacific region on the scope, objectives and substance of the
Guidelines review. This exercise in transparency should serve as a model for other nations
in the region as they establish and update their defense relationships and strategies in
2.1 Toward a Lasting Security Partnership with the ROK
The long-run U.S. objective remains a peaceful resolution of the Korean conflict with a
non-nuclear, democratic, reconciled, and ultimately reunified Peninsula. Toward this end,
the security alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) serves as
the foundation on which all U.S. diplomatic, defense, and economic efforts on the Korean
Peninsula rest. Our treaty commitment and the presence of U.S. troops in South Korea help
deter any North Korean aggression by making it unmistakably clear that the U.S. would
immediately be fully engaged in any such conflict. The U.S. and ROK continue to maintain
and strengthen the three major elements of our security alliance: the 1953 Mutual Defense
Treaty, bilateral consultations and combined military forces.
The strong U.S.-ROK deterrent posture has created the potential for improved security
conditions and political relations on the Korean Peninsula. In particular, a firm stance
by the United States and ROK laid the groundwork for the 1994 Agreed Framework, which
froze North Koreas nuclear facilities at Yongbyon and Taechon under IAEA inspection,
defused a critical source of tension and deflected what could have been a military
confrontation with North Korea.
Ongoing concerns about DPRK compliance with the Agreed Framework have underscored the
need for continued vigilance and close monitoring of the terms of the agreement. However,
the United States still regards a properly functioning Agreed Framework as the best
vehicle available for limiting North Korean nuclear activities and creating an opening to
pursue other issues of concern with the DPRK, such as missile and chemical weapons
proliferation and the recovery of Korean War remains. The United States will insist that
North Korea abide fully by its obligations under the Agreed Framework and will pursue any
suspect DPRK activity until it has been clarified and resolved satisfactorily. If North
Korea proves unwilling to fulfill the terms of the agreement, the United States will
pursue its fundamental security interests through other diplomatic and security means.
A strong U.S. and ROK security posture has also fostered the Four Party peace process,
which convened in plenary sessions in December 1997, March 1998, and October 1998. This
proposal for peace talks among North and South Korea, the United States and China has
enabled the United States and ROK to create a diplomatic venue for reducing tensions and
ultimately replacing the Armistice Agreement with a permanent peace settlement.
However, the most critical forum for lasting peace and security on the Peninsula,
remains direct South-North contact. Only South and North Korea can resolve the division of
Korea. Until a permanent peace arrangement is concluded with genuine reduction of tensions
on the Korean Peninsula, the United States remains committed to the terms of the Armistice
Agreement and to closely coordinating its policy towards North Korea with the ROK.
U.S. and ROK military forces unified under the Combined Forces Command (CFC) continue
to enhance their capabilities to deter and, if necessary, defeat aggression. Although the
substantial deterioration in North Koreas economic conditions has inevitably
affected its military forces, North Korea is still capable of inflicting terrible
destruction on South Korea, especially with artillery, missile, and chemical weapons. Even
as it issues periodic appeals for food for its citizens, North Korea expends very
substantial resources on military exercises and the enhancement of certain military
capabilities. Its August 1998 missile launch, which overflew Japan, underscored for the
entire region that North Korea, despite its domestic hardship, continues to pose a threat
not only on the Peninsula but to common regional security.
In response to this continuing threat, the CFC continues to modernize its military
equipment, with significant upgrades in armor, artillery, attack aviation, counterfire,
and pre-positioned stocks. Also, to sharpen readiness, the Command is continually refining
its vigorous program of exercises, field training, computer simulation and reinforcement
Deteriorating economic conditions, including its serious food shortage, have raised
troubling questions about future developments in North Korea. In these uncertain
circumstances, the ROK and United States continue to consult closely to prepare for a wide
range of contingencies. We cannot ignore the possibility that potentially destabilizing
conditions could arise in the North in the form of famine, massive refugee flows, or other
disruptive scenarios. The United States and South Korea will work together to resolve such
situations at the lowest level of tension possible and in a way that is least disruptive
to regional stability.
The ROKs own economic difficulties may challenge its ability to maintain
financial and other security-related responsibilities. The United States will work with
South Korea to minimize the impact of the crisis on stability on the Peninsula. Despite a
substantial reduction of the ROKs defense budget, the ROK has assured the United
States that it will maintain combined operational readiness and deterrent capabilities.
Anti-Personnel Landmines in Korea
Korea is a unique theater of operations for U.S. forces. Boasting the most heavily
fortified border in the world, Korea is one of the last remaining examples of Cold War-era
confrontation. Along the DMZ, just 24 miles from Seoul, the North Korean Peoples
Army has nearly 600,000 troops, more than 2,400 tanks, and over 6,000 artillery pieces. It
is an area where hostilities could erupt with little or no warning.
Anti-personnel landmines (APLs) serve as an integral component of U.S. capability to
deter and defend the ROK against a potential invasion by the DPRK. The extensive barrier
system in place, which is linked to the restrictive terrain, is key to U.S.-ROK integrated
defense plans and to minimizing U.S. and ROK civilian and military casualties that would
result from the absence of APLs during an invasion.
Citing his responsibility to protect U.S. troops, President Clinton announced in
September 1997 that the United States would not sign the Ottawa Convention to ban
anti-personnel landmines. He noted that the Convention did not contain an adequate
transition period for the United States to safely phase out and develop alternatives to
its APLs, including those in Korea. Neither did it contain a provision permitting use of
U.S. self-destructing mixed anti-tank mine systems, which are critical for effective
defense on the Korean Peninsula.
President Clinton has directed the Department of Defense to end the use of all
anti-personnel landmines outside Korea by 2003, including those that self-destruct. For
Korea, the objective is to have alternatives to anti-personnel landmines ready by 2006.
2.2 Building on a History of Cooperation: Australia and the Pacific
The U.S.-Australia alliance remains as close as any alliance we maintain in the region.
Australia and the United States have fought alongside one another in five major conflicts
in this century: both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War. We have some 250
bilateral legal arrangements and agreements in place that are specifically
In July 1996, the U.S. and Australia reaffirmed their alliance commitments in the Joint
Security Declaration ("Sydney Statement"). The Joint Declaration strengthened
our cooperation to include new and expanded combined exercises and opportunities for
training. Our combined exercise schedule is robust and covers the full range of
operational and tactical cooperation and interoperability, from full-scale joint/combined
activities to unit-level tactics involving all branches of the services of both countries.
In March 1997, TANDEM THRUST, a combined United States-Australia force-on-force field
training exercise, was the largest military exercise conducted in Australia since World
War II. Some 17,000 U.S. and 5,000 Australian troops participated.
Besides significant bilateral exercises, the U.S. Navy conducts numerous port calls
annually. In 1997 alone, the U.S. Seventh Fleet made 102 port visits to Australia.
Increased Australian and U.S. combined training, particularly in the Northern Territory,
is also being explored.
New Zealand and the Pacific Islands
Although U.S. relations with New Zealand are generally positive, the major policy
disagreement remains over New Zealands prohibition of nuclear-powered or
nuclear-armed vessels in its waters. The United States suspended ANZUS alliance defense
obligations to New Zealand in 1986 and revised its defense policy to prohibit exercises
and place limits on other aspects of the bilateral defense relationship.
The United States appreciates the contribution of New Zealand to regional fora such as
the ASEAN Regional Forum and important shared defense policy goals, including its
participation in a range of humanitarian and peacekeeping missions around the world, and
its contribution to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). Given the
findings of then-Prime Minister Bolgers "Somers Report" in 1992 affirming
the safety of nuclear-powered warships, the U.S. hopes that in the future conditions will
allow full restoration of military cooperation with New Zealand.
The United States has specific legal responsibility for the defense of the U.S.
territories of Guam and American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and,
under the Compact of Free Association, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the
Republic of Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The Economic Relations and
the Security and Defense Relations of the compact with the RMI and FSM are due for
renegotiations in October 1999. The facilities at Kwajalein Atoll, located within the RMI,
afford the U.S. military the opportunity to conduct ballistic missile defense and
intercontinental ballistic missile testing, space surveillance, and research and
development. Continued lease option for facilities at Kwajalein Atoll is guaranteed until
2016 regardless of the outcome of the Compact renegotiation.
We continue to support the developing nations of the South Pacific and note their
contributions to regional and international peacekeeping efforts. We remain engaged in the
area though our Joint and Combined Exchange Training (JCET), International Military
Education and Training (IMET), and Humanitarian and Excess Property programs, supporting
the establishment and growth of democratic processes and the role of the military in those
2.3 U.S.-Thailand Alliance: Partners in Practice
Our longstanding alliance with Thailand remains strong and serves a critical function
in enhancing our strategic interests worldwide. Thailand has been a consistent supporter
of the U.S. overseas presence in Asia, and a strong partner in addressing global issues
such as counterproliferation and drug trafficking. Our bilateral relationship with
Thailand has facilitated U.S. access and interoperability. The relationship has afforded
the U.S. important refueling and transit arrangements that have enhanced our ability to
operate within the region.
Thailand's cooperation is essential to support counterdrug and anti-piracy operations,
activities of the Joint Task Force Full Accounting [POW/MIA], and munitions
pre-positioning operations. The War Reserve Stockpile Agreement has been a real success,
and has contributed to increased readiness in Southeast Asia.
COBRA GOLD is the largest joint training opportunity in Southeast Asia and the
centerpiece of an impressive joint exercise program that provides training opportunities
and enhances interoperability. To the United States, COBRA GOLD provides an important
opportunity to communicate through action our continued serious commitment to the security
and well-being of our treaty ally, and demonstrate how serious we are about remaining
engaged in the Asia-Pacific region.
The United States will work with Thailand to minimize the impact of its current
economic difficulties on security needs. It is important that Thailand retain interest in
preserving a high level of interoperability to serve our common interests should we have
to conduct joint military operations in the region.
We also continue to assist the efforts of the Thai armed forces to modernize and
streamline their organization, and improve their leadership capabilities. We want to
reinforce the increasing professionalism of the military, which has contributed to the
continued development of democracy in Thailand.
2.4 After Bases: Solidifying our Alliance with the Philippines
The U.S.-Philippine security relationship has evolved since the withdrawal of U.S.
military bases in 1991-92. We are gradually establishing a post-bases relationship that is
consistent with our activities elsewhere in the region -- exercises, ship visits,
exchanges, and policy dialogues. Upon ratification by the Philippine Senate, the January
1998 Visiting Forces Agreement, which lays out the legal status of U.S. defense personnel
temporarily in the Philippines in connection with official duties, will facilitate
expanded military cooperation. The visit of President Ramos to Washington in April 1998
further affirmed our mutual commitment to the timely resumption of U.S. training
activities in the Philippines.
Familiarity, cooperation and interoperability are important ingredients of a strong
alliance, and we will work to solidify the U.S.-Philippines security partnership in
the coming years. Despite lingering suspicion by some in the Philippines that the United
States is seeking to re-establish a military foothold, the era of U.S. bases is over. We
seek to develop the defense relationship in ways and at a pace comfortable to the
2.5 Comprehensive Engagement with China
The United States understands that lasting security in the Asia-Pacific region is not
possible without a constructive role played by China. The October 1997 and June 1998
summit meetings between President Clinton and President Jiang marked a turning point in
U.S.-China relations and were central events in furthering the U.S. strategy of
comprehensive engagement with China.
China presents numerous challenges, as well as opportunities, in our regional security
strategy. As a nuclear weapons state, a leading regional military power, and global player
with a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, China plays a key role in Asia-Pacific
security. The United States, and indeed the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, has a
substantial interest in Chinas emergence as a stable, secure, open, prosperous and
peaceful country. Prospects for peace and prosperity in Asia depend heavily upon
Chinas role as a responsible member of the international community.
The United States and China share many common global and regional interests. The United
States and China both have an interest in maintaining regional stability to foster
continuation of Asias economic development. We share with China an interest in its
emergence as a stable, prosperous nation. We both share strong interests in maintaining
peace on the Korean Peninsula and in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction
and their means of delivery. We both have concerns for world and Asian stability resulting
from nuclear testing in India and Pakistan. We cooperate in countering a wide range of
non-conventional security threats.
Chinas rise as a major power presents an array of potential challenges. Many of
Chinas neighbors are closely monitoring Chinas growing defense expenditures
and modernization of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), including development and
acquisition of advanced fighter aircraft,; programs to develop mobile ballistic
missile systems, land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles, and advanced surface-to-air
missiles; and a range of power projection platforms. Given international and regional
focus on Chinas growing military power, Chinas adherence to multilateral
nonproliferation and arms control regimes, and to increased military transparency are of
growing importance. The United States welcomed Chinas publication of a Defense White
Paper in August 1998 as a positive step towards greater openness.
[EASR BOX ON CHINA WHITE PAPER]
In a significant move toward greater transparency and participation in international
security dialogue, China released a White Paper in July 1998 entitled, "Chinas
National Defense." The document outlines the Chinese Governments views on
international and regional security issues, and its own defense policies. The paper
restates Chinas desire to resolve outstanding issues in regional affairs through
diplomatic means and to work with other nations to establish a stable regional security
framework for the Asia-Pacific region. The White Paper also explains that Chinas
primary national security concern is economic construction. Finally, the White Paper
highlights Chinas growing role in global security problems such as nonproliferation.
"Chinas National Defense" asserts Beijings view that the
enlargement of military blocs and the strengthening of military alliances have added
"factors of instability" to international security. This view runs counter to
the prevailing recognition that U.S. alliances in Asia have promoted stability.
Chinas economic modernization has benefited from the constructive regional
environment that U.S. alliances in Asia have promoted. China has an important role in the
evolving security architecture of the Asia-Pacific region and the development of
multilateral institutions that complement the existing network of bilateral alliances. As
the United States, China and others in the region work to build that security
architecture, the greatest challenge will be to manage the gap that still exists in
strategic visions and to develop mutually acceptable approaches to security.]
Dialogue between the United States and China will also remain critical to ensure that
both countries have a clear appreciation of one anothers regional security
interests. Dialogue and exchanges can reduce misperceptions between our two countries,
increase our understanding of Chinese security concerns, and build confidence between our
two defense establishments to avoid military accidents and miscalculations. The agreement
not to target strategic nuclear weapons at one another, reached during President
Clintons June 1998 visit to China, was also an important symbolic action that
reassured both sides and reaffirmed our constructive relationship.
The United States and China have continued to make progress in establishing
institutional frameworks for communication and mutual understanding. The United States has
undertaken this approach on a step-by-step basis to avoid false expectations and to build
on actual achievements.
The establishment of a direct Presidential communications link in May 1998 provides an
important conduit for consultation on global, regional and bilateral issues. The Military
Maritime Consultation Agreement of January 1998 is designed to establish a process for
dialogue between the two militaries that will enhance understanding and trust as our
maritime and air forces operate in close proximity to one another. DOD has also begun to
conduct regular high-level strategic dialogue through annual Defense Consultative Talks,
which were initiated in December 1997. Our militaries have exchanged port visits and begun
exchanges on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. And we have conducted reciprocal
senior defense and military visits and continued defense academic exchanges through our
respective National Defense Universities.
The United States Navy conducts 60-80 port calls a year to
Hong Kong. This program has continued uninterrupted since the reversion of Hong Kong to
PRC sovereignty. Port calls to Hong Kong contribute to U.S. overseas presence in the
region, allowing for minor maintenance and repair of transiting ships. Continued access to
one of the world's premier quality-of-life ports contributes positively to sailor
retention and also serves as symbolic support for the continued autonomy of Hong Kong as
called for in the 1984 UK-PRC Joint Declaration, and Hong Kong's Basic Law.
The United States maintains robust but unofficial relations with the people on Taiwan,
governed by the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and guided by the three U.S.-PRC joint
communiques. We have consistently held that the Taiwan issue is a matter for the Chinese
people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to resolve. The United States has an abiding
interest that any resolution be peaceful. In accordance with the TRA and consistent with
the three U.S.-PRC communiques, the United States sells defensive arms to Taiwan to enable
it to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability. Our limited arms sales have
contributed to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and to creating an
atmosphere conducive to the improvement of cross-Strait relations, including dialogue.
2.6 Enhancing Nascent Relations with Mongolia
The United States has enjoyed excellent relations with Mongolia since establishment of
diplomatic relations in 1987. The United States has supported Mongolias commitment
to democracy, free markets and integration into the Asia-Pacific security network as
consistent with our interests. The United States welcomes the inclusion of Mongolia in the
ASEAN Regional Forum, and will work in coming years to facilitate Mongolias
participation in a wide range of multilateral conferences involving Asia-Pacific military
forces. In addition, the United States supports continued specialized military training
and education through the IMET program, future joint training in such areas as disaster
preparedness, peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance, expansion of our nascent policy
dialogue on international and security issues, and the establishment of regular high level
political and military visits between our countries.
2.7 Broadening Cooperation with Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, particularly through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN), has played an increasingly important role in regional security. The nations of
ASEAN have grown more confident and assertive in the years following the end of the Cold
War, an appropriate posture for countries that have undergone a generation of considerable
struggle, accomplishment and development. Despite the financial crisis that has shaken the
areas leading developing economies, we expect that these countries will continue as
important security partners.
ASEANs patterns of consultation, cooperation and consensus, now being adopted in
the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), are an
important model for regional cooperation. ASEAN nations join with the United States in
common purpose to prevent conflict, enhance stability, promote economic growth, and assure
that the interests of all nations are taken into account. ASEAN has distinguished itself
by tackling such issues as political instability in Cambodia and territorial disputes in
the South China Sea.
Consistent with this common purpose is open support and advocacy among ASEAN nations of
a continued U.S. military presence in the region. Port access agreements, military
training and education programs, and other bilateral and multilateral security-related
frameworks complement U.S. overseas presence and further affirm Southeast Asias
increasing importance as a regional partner for enhancing security.
The security of the United States and the region has benefited from the markets and
friendships that have developed between the U.S. and ASEAN nations. The United States will
remain committed to our friends and partners in Southeast Asia both in good times and in
Brunei has publicly supported the U.S. role in maintaining Asia-Pacific security,
including a continuing U.S. military presence in the region. U.S. defense objectives in
Brunei are modest: the United States desires active, albeit limited, military interaction
in the form of periodic small-scale exercises using Brunei's jungle training facility,
ship and personnel visits, and aircraft transits. In political-military terms, however, a
friendly and relatively active military-to-military relationship fits within our overall
security framework. Our 1994 Defense Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding and periodic
bilateral meetings conducted under its auspices form the foundation of our defense ties.
The United States continues to have serious concerns about the repressive and unstable
situation in Burma. The Burmese government's intransigent and repressive policies against
its own citizens, including its failure to honor the results of legislative elections held
in 1990, pose challenges to regional stability and security. The results are all too
evident in the many thousands of refugees who have fled across borders to escape continued
fighting and repression.
U.S. economic sanctions on Burma serve notice to the regime that the deteriorating
situation in the country affects U.S. interests. Now that Burma has become an ASEAN
member, we look to ASEAN to shoulder greater responsibility for producing progress by
prodding the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to halt its repression of the
democratic opposition, move to meaningful political dialogue with the National League for
Democracy under Aung San Suu Kyi, and with the ethnic minorities, and continue effective
action against the narcotics trade.
The United States suspended assistance to the Royal Cambodian Government, including
military assistance to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), as a result of the events
of early July 1997, which unseated the First Co-Prime Minister, Prince Norodom Ranariddh.
Humanitarian aspects of U.S. assistance to Cambodia, including assistance to the Cambodian
Mine Action Center, continued during this interim period. However, training, exercises and
the provision of equipment and security assistance remained suspended. The United States
will reevaluate the situation after Cambodia seats a new government following the
parliamentary elections held in late July 1998.
Prior to suspension of U.S. military assistance, the United States has stressed the
importance of comprehensively reforming the RCAF, including reducing the number of troops,
instilling and sustaining discipline, providing consistent pay to the military, and
eliminating corruption. U.S. military assistance to Cambodia featured non-lethal
humanitarian assistance including English-language training, training for military
engineers, medical exercises, and assistance to the Royal Government's efforts to
reintegrate Khmer Rouge defectors into society. The U.S. has a strong interest in, and
willingness to support, Cambodian military reforms.
As the worlds fourth most populous nation and home to the worlds largest
Muslim population, Indonesia has played a pivotal role in fostering regional stability and
will continue to have a critical influence in the Asia-Pacific region into the next
century. Indonesias geostrategic position and regional influence make it important
for the United States to maintain a cooperative bilateral defense relationship.
Indonesias vast span of thousands of islands forms a gateway between the Pacific and
Indian Oceans, and straddles some of the world's most critical sea lines of communication.
Indonesias support for long-term U.S. presence in the region also has been an
important factor in our overall regional security strategy.
In the security arena, as in political and economic affairs, the U.S. and Indonesia
share important, broad interests in promoting stability and peaceful resolution of
conflict both regionally and internationally. Indonesia has been a cornerstone of ASEAN,
has served as an influential participant in the ASEAN Regional Forum and APEC, and has
demonstrated leadership on regional security problems such as Cambodia and the South China
Sea. Indonesia has also established a long tradition of supporting UN peacekeeping
operations and has been heavily involved in global disarmament efforts.
The unprecedented financial crisis and political transition with which Indonesia is
currently grappling will focus Jakartas energies on internal stability and recovery
for the foreseeable future. The outcome of the economic turmoil and political evolution
nonetheless will have an important impact on regional stability and security. Economic
restructuring and the opening of the political system pose serious challenges for
post-Soeharto governments and have the potential to significantly affect many nations in
the region. Continued U.S. engagement in Indonesia will help promote the stability
necessary to manage this difficult situation.
The United States remains committed to exploring ways of broadening and developing our
military relationship with Laos. Lao POW/MIA cooperation is good and producing results. A majority of
remaining cases of missing Americans are actively being pursued through substantive leads.
The United States remains interested in establishing a defense attaché office in Laos
to complement offices opened in Cambodia and Vietnam in 1995. DOD interests in
counter-narcotics programs, especially the aggressive efforts of Laos to eliminate heroin
production and refinement, require on-the-ground management and collection support. Our
growing humanitarian assistance programs in the Lao countryside serve to build contacts
within the Lao Ministry of Defense to address these and other concerns.
Our bilateral defense relationship with Malaysia has expanded and matured over the past
decade because of our shared regional outlook and mutual security interests. Malaysia
publicly supports a continued U.S. military presence in Asia and makes available naval and
air maintenance and repair facilities.
Our ship visits and exercises in Malaysia, which have gradually increased, have become
an important component of our Southeast Asian presence. We will look for ways to expand
our access to, and engagement with the Malaysian defense establishment.
Malaysia is also a regional leader in UN peacekeeping operations, as well as an active
member of the ASEAN Regional Forum, offering additional avenues for enhanced cooperation
in the future.
Singapore has been Southeast Asias leading advocate of a continued U.S. military
presence. Singapore actively searches for ways to keep the United States engaged in the
region, whether in multilateral institutions such as the ASEAN Regional Forum, or by
expanding U.S. military access opportunities in Singapore itself.
Well before the U.S. entered basing negotiations with the Philippines in the early
1990s, Singapore offered to conclude an access agreement that would help disperse the U.S.
presence and spread the political responsibility of hosting U.S. forces. The 1990 Access
Memorandum of Understanding has been instrumental in sustaining our post-bases presence in
Southeast Asia. Although fewer than 200 U.S. personnel are permanently assigned to
Singapore, we conduct a variety of naval and air training, most notably fighter aircraft
deployments that occur approximately six times per year. A naval logistics unit --
Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific -- that was relocated from Subic Bay at the
time of our military withdrawal from the Philippines assists in fleet support and
coordinates bilateral naval exercises in Southeast Asia.
Singapore continued its forward-looking engagement effort by offering U.S. access to
its long-planned new pier facility at Changi that can accommodate a U.S. aircraft carrier.
This initiative will greatly facilitate our carrier visits and operations in the region,
and represents Singapores strong commitment to continued close relations with the
United States into the next century.
Following the establishment of diplomatic relations with Vietnam in July 1995, the
United States has kept the initial stages of the U.S.-Vietnamese security relationship
purposefully modest in pace and scope. Initiatives have focused on enhancing mutual
understanding. The fullest possible accounting of missing in action from the Indochina War
continues to be the most important issue in the bilateral relationship.
At the same time, the Department of Defense has a range of regional security interests
that could profitably be addressed through normal, routine contacts with the Vietnamese
military. Our goal is to develop a frank and serious dialogue with Vietnam about such
issues and build mutual confidence. The security relationship must also be transparent,
leaving no possibility that our intentions will be misunderstood by others in the region.
The United States is prepared to move forward with incremental steps aimed at improving
the relationship in a manner maintaining our priority concern of accounting for missing
American service personnel.
2.8 Expanding Regional Cooperation with Russia
Although Russia is traditionally considered a European power, geographically,
historically and culturally, Russia is also an Asia-Pacific nation.
In the past, the Soviet Unions contributions to Asia-Pacific security was deemed
either negative or negligible. Today, America welcomes the Russian Federations
active and constructive role in Asia-Pacific security as important to regional stability.
Military exercises and cooperation, port visits, and both senior-level and staff-level
exchanges with the regions armed forces have enhanced transparency and trust, and
reduced suspicions left over from the Cold War. Russian engagement in such regional fora
as the ARF may enhance habits of security cooperation.
In November 1998, Russia will become a member of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) forum, which will enhance Russias engagement with its Asia-Pacific neighbors
and increase its participation in a variety of multilateral economic discussions. The
development of Russias economy, including the Far East region with its abundant
natural resources, can contribute substantially to regional economic growth and buttress
regional peace. At the same time, Asian capital and know-how can fuel Russias
prosperity and contribute to its historic transition from an authoritarian communist
regime to a liberal, market democracy.
Increasing Russian engagement may help relieve historical tensions and resolve several
longstanding disputes that have plagued the region. For example, Russia and Japan are
working toward the conclusion of a peace treaty to fully normalize the relationship
between the two countries. Toward that end, they have begun to identify new paths toward
settling their dispute over the Northern Territories, which has delayed completion of the
treaty for half a century. Their pledge at the Krasnoyarsk summit of November 1997, to do
their utmost to conclude a treaty by the year 2000 benefits the United States and all who
value regional security.
Likewise, Russia has enhanced its relations with South Korea, while its relationship
with China has improved markedly. The 4000-mile shared border between Russia and China has
historically been a military flashpoint. As a result of joint initiatives, today the
border disputes have largely been resolved, military equipment has been drawn back,
cross-border trade has increased and relationships focus more on development of resources
than marshalling of forces. The United States welcomes these improved relations.
Interaction between the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) and Russian military forces has
expanded rapidly in recent years from a few high-level exchange visits to substantive,
routine and cooperative working-level meetings. USPACOM has also established a range of
conferences, symposia and other fora on such issues as special operations, military
medicine, search and rescue, criminal investigation and peacekeeping operations, to
further strengthen our bilateral relationship in the region. These activities will
continue to expand.
As an Asia-Pacific power with a substantial presence and relevance to the security of
the region, Russias open and constructive participation in regional security affairs
will remain in the U.S. national interest.
2.9 Supporting the Development of Security Pluralism
In only a short time, frameworks for discussion and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific
region beyond traditional bilateral relationships have become an important and permanent
feature of the regional security structure. The scope of these activities has widened
dramatically and is critical in a region whose nations do not have many institutional
links. The United States supports and participates actively in this growing pattern of
security pluralism. Multilateral dialogues include larger meetings such as the ASEAN
Regional Forum, sub-regional minilateral confidence-building efforts, and other fora for
interaction and discussion of regional security matters. Meanwhile, bilateral discussions
in the region have proliferated rapidly in recent years to address lingering tensions and
historical disputes, or simply to enhance mutual confidence and encourage transparency.
The United States engages in a variety of official and unofficial multilateral security
dialogues to enhance mutual cooperation and trust in Asia, most notably the ASEAN Regional
Forum (ARF). Initiated by ASEAN nations, the ARF includes 22 members representing Asia,
Europe and North America, including the United States. The ARF has developed into a useful
vehicle for official region-wide discussion and exchange. The ARFs attention to
promoting greater mutual understanding and transparency promises to build trust among
Asia-Pacific nations and others outside the region, and provide an important contribution
to regional security.
Also contributing to the development of multilateral discussion are a number of
unofficial security fora -- ranging from trilaterals to larger "minilateral"
groupings The United States, Japan and Russia, for example, have begun an unofficial
dialogue process that anticipated the historic November 1997 summit meeting and thawing of
relations between Japan and Russia, while the U.S., Japan and ROK have established an
official forum for discussion and cooperation that has facilitated not only trilateral but
bilateral relations. Academics from the United States, Japan and China have begun a
dialogue that may lead eventually to official trilateral talks between these three
critical Asia-Pacific nations.
These and other minilaterals are intended to be overlapping and interlocking,
complementing each other to develop an informal security framework for promoting
understanding and mutual confidence, and facilitating bilateral ties between participants.
The current emphasis on trilateral meetings does not prevent their expansion into broader
forums involving more nations. Multilateralism in all its forms will become an important
element of U.S. engagement in the region in coming years.
The United States also participates regularly in regional conferences on practical
security cooperation, as well as other multilateral fora designed to address specific
regional problems, from political turmoil in Cambodia to the Four Party Talks on the
Korean Peninsula. The Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii, established by
the U.S. Pacific Command, has served as a further vehicle of security pluralism by
facilitating open exchanges of ideas and perspectives among government officials
throughout the region to foster understanding, cooperation and study of security-related
[Separate Box describing Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (with insignia):
Established in September 1995, the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies is an academic
institution established by the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) to study regional security
and preventive defense in the Asia-Pacific region. The Centers mission is "to
foster understanding, cooperation and study of security-related issues among military and
civilian representatives of the United States and other Asia-Pacific nations." The
Center provides a forum for national officials, decision makers and policy makers to
exchange ideas, explore pressing issues and achieve a greater mutual understanding of the
challenges that shape the Asia-Pacific security environment.
The Asia-Pacific Center builds on USPACOMs strategy of maintaining strong
bilateral relationships with the armed forces of the nations of the Asia-Pacific region
and applies a broader multilateral approach to addressing regional security issues and
concerns. The focus of the Center is on the interrelationships among military, economic,
political and diplomatic policies relevant to regional security issues.
The Asia-Pacific Center is staffed with military and civilian personnel who serve as
professors, conference-organizers and researchers. Seventy-five percent of the
Centers students come from Asia-Pacific nations other than the United States, and
include senior military and government-equivalent civilians in security-related government
positions. The continued development of the Center reflects U.S. commitment to engaging
and consulting with Asia-Pacific nations to enhance mutual understanding and develop
constructive approaches that promote regional security into the new century.]
The United States views all of these multilateral mechanisms, built upon the foundation
of solid bilateral relationships and continued U.S. military presence in the region, as
playing an increasingly important role in regional affairs in the future.
Growth of Bilateral Discussions between Asia-Pacific Nations
The Asia-Pacific region has witnessed dynamic growth in bilateral diplomatic and
defense interaction in recent years, leading to progress in addressing many of the
historical tensions and security problems that plague the region. China and Japan have
established a security dialogue that in 1998 included the first visit of a Chinese Defense
Minister to Japan in 14 years and Japanese Defense Minister to China since 1987. Russia
and Japan have held a series of summit meetings and have resolved to complete a formal
peace treaty that includes resolution of the Northern Territories dispute by the year
2000. China and Russia have reached agreement on most of their longstanding border
dispute. The United States welcome the landmark Japan-ROK summit meeting in October 1998
that addressed longstanding historical tensions between the two nations. Japan and the ROK
have been working together to address continued tension on the Peninsula while addressing
constructively outstanding bilateral issues. The growth of bilateral interaction is
clearly positive for regional security.
Section 3: PROMOTION OF DEMOCRACY
AND REGIONAL SECURITY
Continued U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region also facilitates the promotion of
democracy, one of the three central U.S. security goals of the 1997 National Security
Strategy (NSS). Support for the growth of democratic institutions and processes in Asia
will remain a key U.S. security interest.
Promoting democracy does more than foster our ideals. It advances our interests because
we know that the larger the pool of democracies, the better off we, and the entire
community of nations, will be. Democratic values of transparency and accountability have
proved critical not only in the political but also economic realm to ensure sustainable
development and stable societies. These values will also affect the way nations interact
externally, enhancing openness and ultimately promoting mutual confidence and regional
U.S. military engagement in Asia promotes the spread of democratic norms primarily by
helping establish the kind of secure environment under which democracy can develop and
flourish. The presence of severe international tensions or immediate national security
threats enable authoritarian regimes to argue that democracy is a luxury and that strong
and assertive central control is required to meet challenges. Conversely, a secure
regional environment enables nations to focus on internal development, both economic and
political, and provides the breathing space for invention, experimentation and development
that a transition to democracy requires.
More directly, our interaction with the armed forces of regional allies and friends
promotes democratic norms and values in the Asia-Pacific region. Military-to-military
contacts allow us to better understand our military counterparts throughout the region and
provide a mechanism through which we can work to constructively engage new generations of
military leaders. Such contact is a key component of our military strategy in Asia.
The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program is an important tool
in this regard. By exposing military leaders to democratic values, and working to foster
respect for civilian authority and military professionalism, IMET provides a window
through which we can positively influence the development of foreign military
institutions. While such engagement cannot be expected to guarantee a perfect human rights
record on the part of any military force, it nonetheless represents an important
opportunity to encourage adherence to the rule of law, respect for basic human rights, and
appropriate professional conduct in the face of internal or international challenges.
Indeed, constructive civil-military relations are an essential element of a democratic
Expanded-IMET (E-IMET), mandated by the U.S. Congress as part of the overall IMET
program, deepens exposure to IMET principles by broadening program participation to
include civilians performing defense-related functions. By engaging representatives from
nongovernmental organizations and national parliamentarians to address topics such as
defense resource management, military justice, civil-military relations and human rights,
E-IMET courses reinforce constructive civil-military values and promote democratization
within participant nations.
The United States will continue to promote the development of democratic processes and
norms throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The United States recognizes the achievements of
many Asian nations in making difficult but successful democratic transitions over the past
several years. Their achievements, as well as the aspirations of millions of others in the
region, demonstrate that Asian values include the promise of democracy. This promise has
been at the heart of U.S. purpose since our nations founding, and we remain
committed to assisting all nations of the Asia-Pacific region in the realization of this
promise in the interest of our common security.
Section 4. PROLIFERATION OF WEAPONS
OF MASS DESTRUCTION
Stemming and countering the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC)
weapons and the missiles to deliver them remains a strategic priority of the United
States. The United States actively participates in international efforts to develop and
support global norms preventing the proliferation of these weapons of mass destruction
(WMD). However, since proliferation will sometimes occur despite our best efforts, the
United States must also be prepared to deter the use of these weapons, defend against
their delivery and counter their effects.
Proliferation remains a serious security challenge, and one of increasing concern to
the United States and its Asia-Pacific allies. Increasing regional competition and
tension, combined with significant technical expertise, could increase the spread of WMD
capabilities within the region.
Indeed, the global proliferation of WMD, the perception that they have both military
and political utility and the increasing likelihood of their use -- whether in war, as a
tool for political blackmail, or by terrorists -- all serve to increase the threat to U.S.
and allied forces in the Asia-Pacific region. Stemming the spread of WMD will become
increasingly difficult under these conditions, though no less critical for maintaining
international peace and security. The United States employs several measures to prevent
WMD proliferation, from attempts to persuade nations that their security interests are
best served by not acquiring WMD, to limiting a nations ability to obtain WMD
technologies or devices through the promotion of arms control regimes and the use of
sanctions and other punishments.
Several countries in the Asia-Pacific region possess the ability to produce and export
WMD. Entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention in April 1997 and a series of
bilateral agreements between the United States and Asia-Pacific nations focused attention
on and strengthened the nonproliferation regime in the region. While nonproliferation
efforts often are largely diplomatic in nature, DOD plays an important supporting role by
providing inspection, verification and enforcement support for nonproliferation treaties
and control regimes; helping to identify states that might acquire, or are acquiring, NBC
capabilities; and, when necessary, conducting interdiction missions. The nature of the
proliferation threat necessarily requires continuous vigilance.
Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests, followed by each nations claim to nuclear
power status, threaten to complicate global nonproliferation efforts, as well as security
perceptions and the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region. The United States has
strongly condemned the actions of India and Pakistan as counterproductive to regional and
international stability, as well as to the South Asian nations economic and security
interests. In addition to upholding the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and other key arms control conventions, all nations in the
region should redouble their commitment to regional cooperation in light of these actions
to manage any changes in their security perceptions, ensure that their responses remain
appropriate and constructive to common interests of peace and stability. Asia-Pacific
nations should engage where possible with India and Pakistan to reduce tensions in South
Asia, and discourage further development and deployment of nuclear weapons and missiles
and production of fissile material in the region.
The United States places high priority on cooperation with South Korea, since it faces
the greatest military threat from WMD due to North Koreas considerable inventory of
chemical and biological weapons, and means of delivery. The United States and South Korea
have formed a Nonproliferation Task Force to address regional proliferation issues,
especially our mutual concerns about North Korean proliferation activities.
While the U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework of October 21, 1994, substantially reduced
the threat posed by North Koreas nuclear program, close monitoring of North
Koreas full compliance, as well as continued support for the Agreed Framework
process from the United States, ROK and Japan is critical to reducing the threat of
nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea has developed the No-Dong missile, and is developing Taepo-Dong 1 and 2
missiles as potential delivery systems for its WMD. In August 1998, North Korea
flight-tested the Taepo-Dong 1 missile, apparently with a small satellite attached. No
satellite entered orbit, but the DPRK demonstrated new missile capabilities with this
launch. The Taepo-Dong 2 could have a range of more than 4000 kilometers. North Korea also
has the ability to deliver chemical weapons with its ballistic missiles. The implications
of the DPRKs missile program reach far beyond the Korean Peninsula and the
Asia-Pacific region, however. North Korea continues to place a high priority on the
development and sale of ballistic missiles, equipment and related technology, particularly
to countries in South Asia and the Middle East. The United States entered a dialogue with
Pyongyang in April 1996 to seek a negotiated freeze on North Korean missile technology
exports and indigenous missile programs. Although no agreements have yet been reached,
these discussions continue.
The United States places a high priority on its nonproliferation dialogue with China.
The United States and China will continue to hold frank discussions on nonproliferation
issues. Substantial progress on nuclear issues led to implementation of the 1985 U.S.-PRC
Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy Agreement. In other areas, differences have narrowed but
continue at levels that are not helpful to our bilateral relationship. In particular, the
United States is concerned about activities of Chinese entities in the missile and
chemical fields. However, the United States recognizes progress, including Chinas
ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test
Ban Treaty (CTBT), participation in the Zangger (Nonproliferation Treaty Exporters)
Committee, a multilateral nuclear export control group, and other related commitments made
in the past few years to bring Chinas nonproliferation practices and regulations
more in line with international norms. U.S.-Chinese consultations on these issues at both
the expert and senior policy level will continue.
In addition to preventing WMD proliferation, the United States will prepare itself and
its allies to deter use of such weapons, defend against their delivery and counter their
effects. The United States will retain the capacity to respond to those who might
contemplate the use of WMD and to prevail in any conflict in which these weapons are used,
so that the costs of using WMD will be seen as outweighing any possible gains. Since U.S.
forces are likely to fight in coalition with other nations in future conflicts, the
combined readiness of the coalition to deal with WMD threats or use is of great concern.
If future partners are not prepared to fight in a chemical/biological environment, any
combined efforts would be vulnerable to such attacks.
In addition to discussing proliferation concerns in the region, we have focused on
improving military capabilities in the face of NBC threats and identifying areas of
cooperation in programs and activities designed to combat the use of WMD. The United
States conducts on-going dialogues with the Republic of Korea and Japan in particular
since they face the threat of WMD use from North Koreas considerable inventory of
chemical weapons and means of delivery. U.S. and ROK forces have also participated in
exercises and war games designed to increase understanding of and preparation for the
threat or use of WMD.
The development of Theater Missile Defense is a key element in this strategic equation.
We will continue our efforts to establish an arrangement with Japan to advance the
technologies that will enable us to help defend Japan and counter the threat posed by WMD
delivered by ballistic missiles. Such cooperation will speed progress toward our goal by
combining the efforts of the two nations best equipped to take on this challenge. It will
further strengthen the alliance as our two defense acquisition corps, industries, and
militaries grow closer through partnership.
Cooperation between the Australian Defense Science and Technology Office (DSTO) and the
U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) has also been robust and broad in
scope. The Australians have increased funding for DSTO's research into defense against
ballistic missiles. This close cooperation is a significant factor in the strengthening of
counterproliferation regimes in the Asia-Pacific region.
Section 5: THE SEARCH FOR
COMPREHENSIVE SECURITY: TRANSNATIONAL SECURITY CHALLENGES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
The term "comprehensive security" refers to a broader definition of security
that encompasses elements unrelated to traditional military power and influence.
Relatively new and unconventional threats to international security are typically not
based on an ability to seize territory or defeat military forces. Rather, they may bypass
military forces entirely to directly threaten the basic political, economic and social
fabric upon which the stability and prosperity, and therefore security, of a nation or
region are based. That these threats may bypass traditional military structures does not
mean that defense establishments cannot play important roles in meeting these challenges.
This section addresses several transnational threats that are projected to be of
particular strategic concern to Asia-Pacific security in coming years.
East Asia is not immune to the threat of terrorism or penetration by international
terrorist groups. A new and particularly dangerous phenomenon is represented by ad-hoc,
loosely knit groups of extremists who have gained deadly operational experience in the
Afghan conflict, and now travel the region in an effort to expand their networks and
Some terrorism is state-sponsored. Other terrorist activities are rooted in
ethno-religious tensions, such as the insurgent operations of radical elements in the
Philippines. In Japan, the Aum Shinrikyo, the cult that carried out a Sarin gas attack in
the Tokyo subway system in 1995, further demonstrated the vulnerability of Asian societies
to terrorist attacks. The attack also highlighted the potential connection between the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.
Difficult political, economic and social changes occurring throughout the region in
coming years may exacerbate popular discontent and frustration that can fuel resort to
terrorism as a means of redress. In such an environment, terrorist groups may consider the
Asia-Pacific regions relatively benign operational environment as an increasingly
attractive theater of activity. The nations of the region should prepare themselves for
this possibility and work together to establish cooperative frameworks for preventing and
addressing terrorist threats.
5.1 Environmental Degradation
Economic development in the Asia-Pacific region has come at substantial environmental
cost. Although environmental problems largely stem from internal, domestic activities of
individual nations, the impact of these activities often has transnational effects, such
as on air and water quality. The threshold for conflict may be high, but the cumulative
effect of these conditions on regional tensions cannot be ignored.
Concern about environmental degradation has also facilitated military-to-military
contacts between the United States and Asian nations. The Department of Defense (DOD) has
developed a comprehensive program to address environmental aspects of military operations,
including pollution prevention, conservation of natural resources, decontamination and
fire safety. U.S. military engagement with other nations on environmental matters has
proved to be a productive area for cooperation between militaries. In addition to the
direct environmental benefits, through this mechanism trust is established that may lead
to easing of tensions and better understanding of different military cultures.
The United States and China, for instance, have agreed to cooperate to address military
environmental protection. Secretary of Defense Cohen and Chinas Central Military
Commission Vice Chairman Zhang Wannian signed a joint statement in September 1998
authorizing discussions to define the scope and content of this cooperation. As a result
of these contacts, Chinas Peoples Liberation Army has developed a special
office to oversee its environmental program. This example of military environmental
cooperation may serve as a model for military-to-military interaction throughout the
DOD has developed strong and effective environmental cooperation with Australia and
Canada. This trilateral partnership addresses issues such as management of hazardous
materials, and detection and clean-up of contaminated sites. The partnership is also
working to engage other Asian nations in a dialogue on military environmental issues that
are common to the region.
DOD continues to hold conferences in the Asia-Pacific region that bring together
military representatives to discuss environmental issues. The United States has hosted
these conferences since 1996. The conferences have resulted in a growing appreciation in
the region for military environmental issues and for the importance of incorporating an
environmental dimension into military operations as both a domestic and international
5.2 Infectious Diseases
Presidential Decision Directive NSTC-7 (PDD NSTC-7), established a national policy to
implement actions to address the threat of emerging infectious diseases by improving
surveillance, prevention and response measures. PDD NSTC-7 states that the national and
international system of infectious disease surveillance, prevention and response is
inadequate to protect the health of United States citizens from emerging infectious
diseases. PDD NSTC-7 further mandates that DODs mission be expanded to include
support for global surveillance, training, research and response to emerging infectious
disease threats. DOD will strengthen its global disease reduction efforts through
centralized coordination, improved preventive health programs and epidemiological
capabilities, and enhanced involvement of military treatment facilities around the world,
including U.S. and international laboratories in the Asia-Pacific region such as the Naval
Medical Research Unit - Two (NAMRU-2) in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the Armed Forces Research
Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS) in Bangkok, Thailand.
5.3 Drug Trafficking
Drug trafficking throughout the Asia-Pacific region continues to threaten United States
interests both at home and abroad. U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), through Joint
Interagency Task Force (JIATF) West, provides DOD counterdrug support to U.S. Country
Teams and partner nations. JIATF Wests mission is to apply DOD-unique resources to
conduct detection and monitoring operations and to support efforts of law enforcement
agencies and U.S. Country Teams to disrupt and deter international drug trafficking
throughout the region.
Southeast Asia is the worlds leading region for poppy cultivation and heroin
production, particularly within the Golden Triangle, comprised of parts of Burma, Laos and
Thailand. Burma is by far the worlds largest opium producer. Its annual production
of opium typically accounts for more than 60 percent of worldwide production and about 90
percent of Southeast Asias production. However, drug trafficking routes traverse the
entire region, posing significant challenges to our international efforts to reduce
availability of illicit drugs in the United States. Various concealment methods, along
with widely dispersed international organized crime organizations, also make interdiction
difficult without adequate resources and intelligence. The influence of drug kingpins on
the stability and authority of regimes in the region must also be watched as a potentially
agitating force. In addition, trafficking in precursor and essential chemicals used for
illicit drug production, particularly from China, has emerged as a serious drug-related
The illicit drug trade has a direct impact on domestic security and social stability in
the United States. DOD counterdrug support will continue to support the detection,
disruption and deterrence of drug trafficking in the Asia-Pacific region.
Asia is entering a period in which its demand for energy will grow. Rapid population
growth and economic development are fueling this trend. In the next decade, Asia will
generate a larger increase in oil demand than all of the OECD countries combined. The
regional energy market is characterized by a number of developing economies, all of which
will be seeking to meet growing energy demands. China and the economies of ASEAN will
account for the largest increase in imports.
In the new century, a greater percentage of Asias energy requirements for oil
will have to be satisfied by producers in the Arabian Gulf. As a result, promoting
stability in the Arabian Gulf, maintaining freedom of the seas, protecting sea lines of
communication, particularly in the Strait of Malacca, and other efforts to safeguard
energy supplies will become a challenge of increasing mutual interest.
Asian investment of both capital and technology will develop extraction and transport
infrastructure for the Russian Far East and Central Asia. Russia controls the worlds
seventh largest proven oil reserves and the largest gas reserves. Peaceful and
constructive cooperation among Asian nations in energy development in Russia and Central
Asia may further contribute to regional stability and energy security.
In todays energy market of adequate supply, increasing resource competition is
manageable. Over time, however, demand may outstrip supply, leading to security concerns
over resource supply and access. If new sources of supply do not live up to expectations
or tensions threaten supply routes, such as pipelines and sea lines of communication,
resource competition will become an increasingly relevant security concern.
5.5 Humanitarian Relief
Humanitarian operations to promote peace and address humanitarian crises in nations
suffering a natural disaster, civil strife or other forms of conflict may likewise serve
important U.S. security interests and values, including preservation of regional
stability, and promotion of democracy and human rights. Even if U.S. security is not
immediately threatened, instability, violence and large-scale human suffering often pose a
long-term menace to important U.S. political and economic interests. Security
aside, operations to alleviate widespread suffering also reflect the instincts of the
American people to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need wherever they are.
U.S. comprehensive engagement in Asia, as elsewhere in the world, includes readiness to
deploy U.S. forces to alleviate humanitarian crises in the region when appropriate. While
the U.S. military is generally not the best instrument for addressing a humanitarian
crisis, in some situations use of the militarys unique capabilities may be both
necessary and appropriate. This is particularly true when a humanitarian catastrophe
dwarfs the ability of civilian relief agencies to respond or when the need for immediate
relief is urgent and only the U.S. military has the ability to respond rapidly enough
before appropriate longer-term assistance arrives.
In Asia, U.S. forces have engaged in a variety of humanitarian relief efforts in recent
years, most notably disaster relief. The United States responded swiftly with assistance
for citizens of Kobe after the 1995 earthquake devastated the Japanese city. U.S. forces
helped douse wildfires in Indonesia that were threatening the health and safety of nations
throughout Southeast Asia. After a violent earthquake and massive floods struck China in
1998, U.S. forces quickly airlifted blankets, tents and food to alleviate the suffering of
those affected by the disasters. The U.S. remains prepared to respond constructively
throughout the region should emergencies occur in the future.
In many areas around the world, U.S. forces have combined humanitarian relief efforts
with peacekeeping operations (PKO). The United States will remain an advocate of and
active participant in PKO missions where important or compelling humanitarian interests
are at stake. The most notable peacekeeping effort in Asia in recent years was the United
Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), which oversaw refugee repatriation,
civil administration reform, demobilization of militias, the organization and conduct of
elections in 1993, and other matters in an effort to bring relief to the long-suffering
people of Cambodia.
5.6 Instruments of Comprehensive Security
To address transnational threats to U.S. and regional security interests, creative
application of a variety of instruments is required. Traditional instruments such as
intelligence gathering, military readiness and diplomacy remain central to this effort.
Special efforts to combat security threats posed by weapons proliferation and terrorism
will require increasing cooperation between intelligence and law enforcement agencies, not
only within the United States but internationally. The United States, through public and
private sources, may also employ its international economic and political development
assistance to address root causes of transnational security challenges. The United States
may also use political influence through bilateral contacts and multilateral fora,
including regional bodies and global institutions such as the United Nations, to raise
awareness and combat challenges as they arise.
Our allies and partners should engage similarly through their development assistance
programs and national security institutions. Transnational threats clearly require
transnational remedies. The cumulative impact of U.S. and international attention to
transnational issues will prove essential to meeting these challenges. The United States
will place increasing emphasis on the critical need for close consultation, cooperation
and coordination of international efforts to combat transnational threats.
At the heart of all these efforts, however, is continuation of U.S. overseas presence
and active engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. Absent such engagement, the United
States would possess neither the credibility nor the tools to adequately address new,
Section 6. SUSTAINING U.S.
ENGAGEMENT: U.S. STRATEGIC VISION FOR A NEW CENTURY
[SecDef quote: "In the security realm, it is critical to understand the interplay
between what is fixed and what is in flux if we are to successfully anticipate and manage
change, and thereby ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for ourselves, our children
and generations that follow. This is truly the great challenge as we leave the post-Cold
War transition period and enter, and indeed create, a new era. And it is a challenge that
demands of us even greater cooperation than we have successfully shown in the past."]
Although the years since the end of the Cold War have led to change in the Asia-Pacific
region, the years to come promise even more profound developments. The United States is
optimistic about the future of the region and the continued engagement of the United
States as a stabilizing force in the midst of change. Our vision of a stable, secure,
prosperous and peaceful Asia-Pacific region in the new century will demand
continued vigilance and flexibility, and a renewed commitment to close cooperation and
consultation with our allies and friends. This vision will also require that the United
States undertake a comprehensive approach to regional affairs to help promote constructive
6.0 Maintaining Overseas Presence: Bases, Access and Good Neighbors
U.S. overseas presence in the Asia-Pacific region, including the continued maintenance
of approximately 100,000 military personnel for the foreseeable future, will continue to
promote regional strategic interests, and provide evidence of undiminished U.S. commitment
and engagement. Our force structure will continue to reflect our conception of regional
strategic requirements and the capabilities necessary to support them, and remain the
subject of continued consultation with our allies. In coming years, the United States will
also examine new modes of sustaining and supporting this presence within the region. The
continued development of support -- outside the traditional basing structure -- in such
nations as Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and the Philippines
will enhance U.S. strategic interests in maintaining regional stability and a credible
power projection capability in the region and beyond, including to the Arabian Gulf when
U.S. bases in Japan will remain the anchor of our regional force presence. U.S. forces
in Korea will continue to deter aggression on the Peninsula and promote stability in
Northeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole. The combination of traditional
basing structures and new modes of support for U.S. force presence will continue to
provide the flexibility and credibility that has promoted regional stability in the past,
and that promises to meet the challenges of the future.
Meanwhile, the promotion of good will between U.S. forces and host nations will
continue to be a critical element of U.S. overseas presence. Cooperation with host nations
and communities will remain critical not only between base commanders and local officials,
but between every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine, and every local citizen. We will
engage in greater dialogue and consultation with host nations on measures to reduce the
local impact of our forces, as demonstrated by our close cooperation with Japan on SACO,
and assure tangible contributions to local societies and quality of life through civic
projects and other initiatives. Likewise, U.S. forces will enhance their effort to promote
understanding of the strategic purpose of their presence and the connection between U.S.
training activities and the missions for which they must prepare. The United States will
welcome the input of host governments to facilitate this process as an essential strategic
element of sustaining U.S. presence while ensuring maximum operational readiness of U.S.
forces into the future.
6.1 Updating Alliance Partnerships
As this report has indicated, in preparing for change, the United States will build
upon the framework that has been developed over the past several years to guide future
U.S. strategy towards the region. Foremost, the U.S. will continue to strengthen its
strategic partnerships with allies, which serve as important pillars from which to address
regional political and military challenges. All of our alliance relationships promise to
expand both in scope and degree in coming years to encompass more comprehensive concepts
of security cooperation.
As our most important bilateral alliance in the region, the U.S.-Japan partnership in
particular will remain critical to U.S. and regional interests -- as important to
Asias future as it has been to its past. The United States sees no substitute for
this historic relationship as the region prepares to address old and new challenges into a
In the next century the U.S.-Japan alliance will remain the linchpin of our regional
security policy and must therefore continue preparing to respond to regional threats and
to engage in preventive diplomacy. The United States and Japan will continue building a
global partnership based on our shared values, mutual interests and complementary
capabilities. Full and effective implementation of the 1997 Defense Guidelines will
contribute substantially to this process. We also expect that Japan will bring its
considerable diplomatic and economic tools to the task of preventing future security
problems. Japans strong condemnation of nuclear tests in South Asia, and
active engagement to mitigate the impact of this destablizing development continue to be
welcome and important initiatives to support global nonproliferation efforts.
Regular nonproliferation consultations begun in July 1998 and our strong joint response
to North Koreas missile launch in August 1998 highlight the benefit to both sides of
longer-range planning and information sharing. We expect such consultation and cooperation
to expand. The United States will also continue to view Japan as a key part of the
solution to the economic and financial crisis in the region.
The United States further envisions a continued U.S. overseas presence in Japan that
secures peace and whose troops continue to be supported by the central government, and
welcomed as partners and good neighbors by the local communities with whom they interact.
Maintaining host nation support levels, and continued joint commitment to implementing the
SACO Final Report will be central factors in this regard.
The United States also takes a longer-term view of its relationship with South Korea.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula will remain the most serious security threat in the
Asia-Pacific region in the near term. The U.S.-ROK alliance will continue to promote
stability and deterrence on the Peninsula, as we work with all nations of the region to
help shape a more stable Northeast Asia.
The United States welcomes the public statements of ROK President Kim Dae-Jung
affirming the value of the bilateral alliance and the U.S. military presence even after
reunification of the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. strongly agrees that our alliance and
military presence will continue to support stability both on the Korean Peninsula and
throughout the region after North Korea is no longer a threat. The bilateral alliance and
U.S. military presence will continue to contribute to the residual defense needs of Korea
and assist in the integration of the two Koreas as appropriate. Beyond the Peninsula,
instability and uncertainty are likely to persist in the Asia-Pacific region, with heavy
concentrations of military force, including nuclear arsenals, unresolved territorial
disputes and historical tensions, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and
their means of delivery serving as sources of instability. After reconciliation and,
ultimately, reunification, the United States and Korea will remain deeply committed to
mitigating such regional sources of instability.
Also, in keeping with the growing global role of the ROK, the United States and ROK
will continue to share a worldwide commitment to peaceful conflict resolution, arms
control and nonproliferation, right of access to international sea, air and space, and
promotion of democratic and free market practices. The bilateral security alliance and
overseas presence of U.S. military forces will continue to serve as important instruments
for achieving these common objectives over the long term.
The U.S. also envisions continued expansion and deepening of the U.S.-Australia
alliance over the coming years. Australia will continue to be important to our presence in
Southeast Asia, as the U.S. and Australia develop and monitor interaction and cooperation
on security issues through our well-established working relationships and the AUSMIN
ministerial meetings. With continued development and planning, Australia will provide an
increasingly important regional locus for both unilateral and joint training, particularly
in the Northern Territory. The two sides will continue to work closely together on
international peacekeeping and other UN operations, which contribute to mutual security
interests in such places as the Arabian Gulf and Cambodia.
The United States will also continue to explore ways to enhance our longstanding
alliances with Thailand and the Philippines. These valuable partnerships must continue to
develop to ensure continued regional stability and to enable all sides to address a range
of security interests, including drug trafficking, terrorism, environmental degradation
and weapons proliferation. Expanded U.S. access, joint activity and interoperability with
Thai forces will remain critical to address these mutual interests. We will continue to
work closely with the Philippines to develop our partnership in ways that will promote our
respective security interests.
Enhancing Regional Cooperation
Overall, the United States must increasingly emphasize regional cooperation with allies
to address future challenges. An important element of regional cooperation will include
enhancing our strategic consultations. Formal dialogues such as regular defense and
foreign minister talks with Japan (Security Consultative Committee, or "2+2")
and Australia (AUSMIN), and annual Security Consultative Meetings with the ROK, as well as
the less formal interaction that occurs continually between allies, provide the context
for official security consultations. These discussions will continue and deepen at all
levels. The United States understands the growing importance of developing deeper and more
substantive partnerships with both defense and military establishments of its allies to
account for changes in the strength of our partners and fully realize the potential of
these partnerships to meet the challenges of a new century.
For instance, regional cooperation may also increasingly encompass use of common
facilities, as well as reciprocal military provision of supplies, services and logistical
support. In nations where the United States maintains bases or conducts regular training
and exercises, the conclusion of Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreements (ACSA) will
not only provide for such assistance but also offer material and symbolic evidence of
regional support for U.S. presence in general. The signing of a revised ACSA with Japan in
April 1998 was a step in this direction, and the United States will seek other ACSA
agreements elsewhere in the region in coming years.
6.2 Engaging China: From Confidence-Building to Cooperation
[Quote: "We want China to be successful, secure and open, working with us for a
more peaceful and prosperous world." President Clinton, Speech at Peking University,
June 28, 1998]
The United States intends to continue confidence-building efforts with China in coming
years through greater contacts, exchanges and visits at all levels of our government and
military establishments. The annual Defense Consultative Talks process will continue to
develop as an important forum for high-level strategic dialogue. During President
Clintons June 1998 visit to China, the United States and China agreed that their
respective military establishments would observe a joint training exercise of the other
side, and pledged to cooperate on military environmental protection and security.
Consistent with these initiatives, the United States will seek further progress in Chinese
military transparency, particularly in strategic doctrine, budgets and force structure.
In coming years, the United States will also seek to expand not only
confidence-building measures but also active bilateral cooperation with China on issues of
mutual interest. These will include joint efforts in such areas as humanitarian
assistance, disaster relief and peacekeeping operations, and other activities to promote
freedom of the seas, safety of international sea lines of communication and peaceful
resolution of disputes, including on the Korean Peninsula. The United States will continue
to consult with China on productive approaches to the regional financial crisis. The two
sides have also reaffirmed their shared interest in restoring stability to South Asia and
strengthening international nonproliferation efforts.
Although the United States and China have a long history of interaction, missing from
this contact over much of the past two centuries has been continuity, balance and a sober
dialogue concerning mutual interests and strategic visions. It is clear that the United
States and China have substantial mutual interests in maintaining peace, stability and
prosperity not only in the region but internationally. Active cooperation between the two
sides to secure these interests, therefore, will become not only desirable but imperative
as we enter a new century.
6.3 Continued Integration of Russia into Asia-Pacific Security Affairs
Russias involvement in Asia-Pacific affairs will expand in coming years as
historical tensions ease, and bilateral and multilateral interaction is regularized. The
United States welcomes and will continue to encourage such involvement as constructive to
the general development of the region. Economically, further integration of Russia into
regional security affairs will promote growth both by enhancing general stability and by
enabling productive use of respective economic instruments and natural resources.
Interaction between U.S. and Russian military forces in the Asia-Pacific region will also
continue to expand. The United States envisions a future where U.S. and Russian forces
work together with other nations in the region, for instance, to provide effective
humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Likewise, a stable and involved Russia may
contribute substantially to stemming weapons proliferation. The benefits of Russias
constructive involvement in regional security affairs cannot be ignored as an important
element in the strategic mix in Asia.
6.4 Strategic Innovations for Asia-Pacific Security: A Network of Overlapping and
As indicated in this report, the U.S. views the cumulative effect of bilateral,
minilateral and multilateral security relationships as establishing a diverse and flexible
framework for promoting common security in the Asia-Pacific region into the next century.
The United States views the continued development of the ASEAN Regional Forum, for
example, as an important vehicle for exchanging views on regional issues such as the South
China Sea, enhancing mutual understanding and confidence, and potentially addressing
preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution. The continuation and broadening of
minilateral contacts will also remain a U.S. strategic priority and take its place
alongside traditional mechanisms of dialogue in coming years.
In particular, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other transnational
security concerns, such as environmental degradation, drug trafficking and terrorism, will
require extensive regional interaction and creative, multilateral approaches that often
transcend traditional bilateral or military remedies. The task for the region will be to
encourage all nations to recognize and address domestic problems that have transnational
security implications, and to mobilize and coordinate a full range of national and
international tools to meet these non-traditional security challenges.
6.5 Addressing the Regional Financial Crisis
The severe financial crisis faced by many of Asias leading developing economies
beginning in mid-1997 sent a shock wave not only through the region but around the world.
The United States recognizes that it is not immune to the economic and political fallout
of the crisis.
The United States views the Asian financial crisis as a core security concern. In
meeting the economic challenges of the crisis, the United States will remain committed to
playing a leading role in mitigating the national and international effects of economic
setbacks suffered in the region. U.S. engagement and presence in the region during this
difficult transition period, therefore, remains as critical as ever to provide reassurance
of continuity and stability in the midst of change, and to enable contacts with regional
leaders to promote constructive development.
6.6 Promotion of Transparency
Consistent with the stabilizing values of open government, transparency must become a
transcendent principle as nations increasingly interact to normalize relations and
security initiatives arise to reflect the new security environment. The U.S. remains
committed to conducting its regional affairs in an open and transparent manner and
encourages all nations and institutions involved in regional security initiatives to
conduct their activities similarly to instill trust and establish a standard that will
enhance stability in the region.
As stated in the Introduction, this report itself represents an important exercise in
transparency. The 1998 East Asia Strategy Report has outlined U.S. perspectives,
relationships, interests and strategy toward the Asia-Pacific region as the specter of the
Cold War recedes and we move into the 21st century. The region will face many challenges
in coming years; some we will anticipate, others we will not. The vision outlined in this
section and throughout this report should make clear that the United States is prepared to
join with the other nations of the Asia-Pacific region to address the challenges of a
changing world and will remain steadfast in its commitment to comprehensive engagement in
the region into the new century.