The United States has admitted it “neglected” the South Pacific for the past two decades.
US Navy Pacific fleet commander Admiral Samuel J. Paparo, responsible for more than half the US Navy, visited Wellington on Tuesday, promising to bolster the US military presence in the region amid “concerning actions” by China.
“We can say, plainly, that the United States has neglected its relationship in the South Pacific, and we’re accounting for that by engaging more deeply,” he said, in an interview.
“There have been concerning actions by the PRC [People’s Republic of China] here in the region, in closing their secret security agreement with the Solomon Islands, that have been concerning for the United States of America, and I think are concerning also, from what I hear from my dear friends in New Zealand, for New Zealand as well.”
* US admiral says China flexing military muscle in South China Sea
* A quiet militarisation of the Pacific region is under way
* Top US naval fleet commander makes rare NZ visit for security talks on Pacific