- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2015

Ahead of a weeklong trip to Asia, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Monday that new technology and deeper partnerships are essential to America’s national security as countries such as China continue to grow.

Mr. Carter spoke at The McCain Institute at Arizona State University ahead of a trip to Japan and South Korea that demonstrates the administration’s commitment to the Pacific pivot, despite continued conflicts in the Middle East.

“The U.S. and China are not allies, but we don’t have to be adversaries,” Mr. Carter said. “A strong, constructive U.S.-China relationship is essential for global security and prosperity, but our relationship will be complex as we continue to both compete and cooperate.”

Mr. Carter, who called Asia “the defining region for our nation’s future,” said that despite ongoing national security concerns around the globe in Iraq, Syria and Russia, as well as budget cuts at home, partnerships with countries in the Pacific are still one of the first things he thinks about when he wakes up each morning.

The defense secretary will arrive Tuesday night in Japan and meet with senior Japanese officials Wednesday and Thursday, according to the Pentagon. Mr. Carter will spend Friday in Seoul, meeting with officials and reaffirming the U.S. commitment to South Korea. In both countries, Mr. Carter will also visit with U.S. service members who are stationed there.

Mr. Carter will visit U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii Saturday before returning to D.C. Sunday.

The secretary will make a second trip to Asia in May to visit Singapore and India.

Mr. Carter stressed that just because China is improving and competing with the U.S. does not mean America will lose its place of superiority in the world. In fact, Mr. Carter told Arizona State University students that success in China will expand opportunities for them since it creates a larger user base for medical cures they invite or software they develop.

“Some people would have you believe that China will displace America in the Asia Pacific,” he said. “But I reject the zero sum thinking that China’s gain is our loss because there’s another scenario in which everyone wins and it is a continuation of the decades of peace and stability anchored by a strong American role in which all Asia Pacific countries continue to rise and prosper, including China.”

Mr. Carter said the U.S. is also working to develop new technologies to succeed in its Asia mission, including a new long-range stealth bomber, a new-long range anti-ship cruise missile and a rail gun, which can shoot at greater speed and lower cost with electromagnetic forces.

The U.S. is also working on several construction projects in Japan, South Korea and Guam, he said.

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