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Trade Reduces Tension in Pacific Region, Pace Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

JAKARTA, Indonesia, Feb. 13, 2007 – Trade ties will help bind the Pacific together and will help reduce threats in the region, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

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U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conducts a news conference in Jarkarta, Indonesia, Feb. 13. Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace said during a news conference that trade specifically lessens the threat China may pose to the region, and he he is optimistic about relations with China.

“Trade between the United States and China has grown exponentially in the last several years. That is good,” he said. “I think the more nations trade with each other and become dependent on each other, the less likely they are going to find their way into some kind of a conflict.”

Pace said he looks at China with military eyes. He told reporters that military personnel define threats through two issues: capacity and intent. “Certainly the Chinese are increasing their capacity,” Pace said.

China is modernizing its armed forces and successfully conducted an anti-satellite test recently. China also is building a blue-water navy and is operating more submarines. The Chinese also have built and fielded more missiles.

“So, their capacity is certainly increasing,” Pace said. “But I’m not aware of any intent on their part to use any of those capacities in an aggressive manner.”

The United States, the general said, needs to be aware of the fact that the Chinese are gaining capacity and of ways to counter that growth. But more important is developing ties that make the countries of the Pacific Rim more dependent on each other “so that a decision to do something militarily would be not in anybody’s interest.”

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Gen. Peter Pace, USMC

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