David Shear, assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs, has outlined the Pentagon’s strategies to address maritime disputes in South China Sea, DoD News reported Thursday.
Shear told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that China’s 2,000-acre reclamation in the region alters the regional status quo and presents several military implications, Terri Moon Cronk reports.
He said the Defense Department is working to protect the U.S. interests in the region such as “peaceful resolution of disputes, freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, respect for international law and the maintenance of peace and stability,” according to the report.
One of those strategies is updating the defense cooperation with Japan, the Philippines and Australia, allies where U.S. forces are stationed on a rotational basis, the report says.
Shear said DoD is also expanding regional visibility by conducting port calls, launching intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and holding exercises with allies, Cronk reports.
The department also works to help regional governments bolster their maritime security and minimize conflict through what Shear described as a “healthy but prudent military-to-military engagement,” DoD News reports.