TOKYO/WASHINGTON, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Japan and Southeast
Asian countries called for freedom of the air and sea on
Saturday, as China’s military assertiveness raises regional
tensions and after U.S. and Chinese warships narrowly avoided
collision in the disputed South China Sea.
China’s recent announcement of an air defence zone covering
disputed islands in the East China Sea and its territorial
claims in the South China Sea have raised concerns that a minor
incident in the disputed seas could quickly escalate.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. guided missile cruiser operating in international waters in the South China Sea was forced to take evasive action last week to avoid a collision with a Chinese warship maneuvering nearby, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement on Friday.
The incident came as the USS Cowpens was operating in the vicinity of China’s only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, at a time of heightened tensions in the region following Beijing’s declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone farther north in the East China Sea, a U.S. defense official said.
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar, Dec 10 (Reuters) – U.S. Defense
Secretary Chuck Hagel briefed Qatari leaders on Tuesday about
the effort to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, and he
underscored U.S. support for Syria’s moderate opposition.
Hagel met with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad and
Defence Minister Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah on the last day of a
visit to the region to reassure Gulf Arab allies of continuing
U.S. support, despite disagreements over Washington’s policy
toward Syria and its diplomatic overtures to Iran.
WASHINGTON/DOHA, Dec 9 (Reuters) – The U.S. military said on
Monday that it will fly African forces into Central Africa
Republic, responding to a request by France to bolster
international efforts to halt the spread of violence between
Christians and Muslims.
Two U.S. military C-17 aircraft will fly about 850 troops
from Burundi into Central African Republic within the next 24
hours, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Firman, a Pentagon spokesman,
said. It was unclear what U.S. support might follow, but Firman
said consultations were ongoing.
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel discussed the use of U.S. drones against militants in remote areas of Pakistan on Monday during the first visit by a Pentagon chief to the South Asian ally in almost four years.
The United States has a complicated relationship with Pakistan and ties have been further soured by a dispute over unmanned military aircraft the United States uses to target militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas on the Afghan border.
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will travel to Pakistan on Monday for talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other senior officials, as the first Pentagon chief to visit Islamabad in nearly four years, a spokesman said.
Hagel announced the Pakistan trip while talking to U.S. troops at Camp Leatherneck in southwestern Afghanistan, where he is on a two-day visit to consult with senior U.S. and Afghan officials and pay a holiday tribute to American forces.
KABUL (Reuters) – A NATO meeting in February could become a new deadline for a security pact between the United States and Afghanistan, whose president has been reluctant to sign the deal, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on visit to Kabul.
Hagel arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday to visit troops and senior Afghan officials but, unusually, did not plan to meet President Hamid Karzai, who has resisted signing the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) which would govern the U.S. military presence after most NATO forces leave by the end of next year.
MANAMA (Reuters) – Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel told Gulf Arab leaders on Saturday that the United States has a proven and enduring commitment to Middle East security, backed by diplomatic engagement as well as warplanes, ships, tanks, artillery and 35,000 troops.
The U.S. defense secretary, speaking at a regional security forum, acknowledged Gulf leaders’ concerns about the direction of U.S. policy in the Middle East, especially negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. But he said the U.S. emphasis on diplomacy should not be misinterpreted.
KABUL (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Afghanistan for a weekend visit on Saturday but had no plans to meet President Hamid Karzai amid tensions over his refusal to sign a deal governing the post-2014 U.S. military presence, a senior U.S. official said.
Hagel was expected to visit U.S. and international troops across the country and to hold talks with Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and Interior Minister Umer Daudzai, a Pentagon spokesman, Carl Woog, said in a statement.
MANAMA, Dec 7 (Reuters) – The United States has a proven and
enduring commitment to Middle East security, backed by
diplomatic engagement and a fierce array of warplanes, ships,
tanks, artillery and 35,000 troops, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel
told Gulf Arab leaders on Saturday.
The U.S. defense secretary, speaking at a regional security
forum, acknowledged Gulf leaders’ concerns about the direction
of U.S. policy in the Middle East, especially negotiations on
Iran’s nuclear program. But he said the U.S. emphasis on
diplomacy should not be misinterpreted.