Carter Outlines ‘Principled Network Security’ Actions for Asia-Pacific


Defense Secretary Ash Carter today outlined a vision for principled, networked security in the Asia-Pacific during remarks at the 15th annual International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-La Dialogue, a major forum which draws regional and world leaders to Singapore.

“Miracle after miracle has occurred here,” Carter told his audience in prepared remarks. “Japan, then Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Southeast Asia rose and prospered, and now, China and India are rising and prospering.”

Many share credit for that regional prosperity, the secretary said: citizens and statesmen, as well as “incomparable investments” by the United States.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks to reporters in Singapore, June 4, 2016. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee
Defense Secretary Ash Carter addresses reporters in Singapore, June 4, 2016. Carter is in Singapore attending the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security conference. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee
Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks to reporters in Singapore, June 4, 2016. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter addresses reporters in Singapore, June 4, 2016. Carter is in Singapore attending the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security conference. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee
Photo By: MC1 Tim D. Godbee
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“It is also to the credit of shared principles -- principles that have long been accepted and collectively upheld,” he added.

Challenges to Stability

Most of the change over recent decades has been positive, Carter said, with “country after country … seeking to play a greater role in regional affairs.” But, he noted, “Tensions in the South China Sea, North Korea’s continued nuclear and missile provocations, and the dangers of violent extremism felt worldwide, pose challenges to the region’s stability and prosperity.”

By working together, he said, regional leaders and militaries “can continue to build a principled security network that will enable additional waves of miracles and human progress and ensure regional stability and prosperity for years to come.”

Weaving a Security Network

The secretary referenced remarks he made at last year’s dialogue to note progress made since.

“If we continue to cooperate on security, I posited, we would one day be discussing a U.S.-China-India multilateral maritime exercise, a Japan-Republic of Korea joint disaster response in the South China Sea, and an [Association of Southeast Asian Nations]-wide security network,” Carter said. “Over the last year, we’ve made progress toward that vision.”

China and India will both participate once again in the U.S.-hosted RIMPAC naval exercise this summer, he noted, while Japan and South Korea are “engaging with each other in new ways.”

Carter noted that along with the ASEAN-centered security network developing in Southeast Asia, “nations across the entire Asia-Pacific are increasingly working together -- and networking security together.”

Freedoms for Every Country

“By doing so, our nations are making a choice for a principled and inclusive future, one as bright and miraculous as our recent past,” the secretary said. “A future, where every country -- no matter how big or small -- is free to make its own political, economic, and military choices free from coercion and intimidation.”

As the Asia-Pacific region becomes more interconnected politically and economically, the region’s militaries are also coming together in new ways to uphold security and stability, he said, adding, “And these connections are now helping our countries plan together, exercise and train together, and operate together, more effectively and efficiently than ever before.”

The security network “weaves everyone’s relationships together -- bilateral, trilateral, and multilateral -- to help all of us do more, over greater distances, with greater economy of effort,” Carter said. “It enables us to take coordinated action to respond to contingencies like humanitarian crises and disasters; to meet common challenges, such as terrorism; and to ensure the security of and equal access to the global and regional commons, including vital waterways.”

Committed to “Next Wave’ in Security

That principled network, he said, “represents the next wave in Asia-Pacific security.”

The United States is fully committed to a principled security network “and to the Asia-Pacific’s principled future,” Carter said. “That’s because this region, which is home to nearly half the world’s population and nearly half the global economy, remains the most consequential for America’s own security and prosperity. … America’s approach to the Asia-Pacific remains one of commitment, strength, and inclusion.”

Follow Karen Parrish on Twitter: @DoDNewsKParrish