‘United States can be secure only if Asia is’: Defence chief Austin

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivering his keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue on May 31, 2019. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SINGAPORE, Jun 1, 2024, CNA. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stressed on Saturday (Jun 1) that the Indo-Pacific region remained a “priority” for Washington, saying the United States was secure “only if Asia is”, Channel News Asia reported.

Lloyd made the remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, a day after he met with his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun.

“The United States can be secure only if Asia is and that’s why the United States has long maintained its presence in this region,” Austin said at the major security summit.

There has been increasing concern that Washington’s focus on support for Israel’s war in Gaza, while trying to ensure that the conflict does not spread, has taken away attention from the Indo-Pacific.

“Despite these historic clashes in Europe and the Middle East, the Indo-Pacific has remained our priority theatre of operations,” Austin said.

The United States is seeking to strengthen alliances and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly with the Philippines, as it seeks to counter China’s growing military might and influence.

As it deepens defence ties, it has also ramped up joint military exercises and regularly deploys warships and fighter jets in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea – infuriating China’s leaders.

Share it

Exclusive: Beyond the Covid-19 world's coverage