Pace to Visit Australia, Indonesia
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa, Feb. 10, 2007 Visits this week to Australia and Indonesia will help the United States cement military-to-military ties, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday in Hawaii.
The visits to Australia and Indonesia are part and parcel of a strategy in the region that builds allied capabilities, Pace told reporters traveling with him before leaving Hawaii en route to Australia.
U.S. Pacific Command is not waging “hot” wars, but is working with the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and a number of other countries to build a safer more peaceful area. “I think everyone who serves out here in the Pacific ought to know what great work they are doing,” Pace said.
The people of the region look pretty favorably on the United States, officials said, in part because of the humanitarian work Pacific Command has overseen. “You take a look at the tsunami relief last year and all the opportunities the natural disasters unfortunately presented to this command, and the response of the American military has been phenomenal,” Pace said. “In the long term, the military fights wars to defeat our enemies. When we get a chance to do humanitarian work it builds friendships, and Friendships last longer.”
In Australia, Pace will meet with Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the country’s chief of defense. “I want to compare notes with him,” Pace said. “Australia has (given us) a lot of support … in the war on terrorism. They have great leadership in their part of the Pacific trying to help their neighbors.”
Pace said he wants to collaborate with Houston and “make sure we are taking advantage of all the opportunities that are available for both of our countries to help each other.”
In Indonesia, Pace wants to solidify some of the progress the two countries have made since the tsunami-relief effort of 2005. “I’m going to listen,” Pace said. “I want to hear what they have to say.”
Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, and people around the world look to the country as an example, Pace said. They are “not only an example by the way they live, but by the way they reach out to their brothers around the world,” he said. “I think the Indonesian government is searching for ways to exert that leadership and be a positive influence.”