WASHINGTON, D.C.: The United States will not end up turning away from Asia in coming years, a top US military official, appointee of President Barack Obama, said Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), as Donald Trump’s White House win kept regional allies fretting.
The US president-elect sounded fairly isolationist on the campaign trail; in contrast, Obama, who grew up partly in Indonesia, made the region a priority.
Trump annoyed Japan by saying it was not paying enough in the US-Japanese military relationship. He even suggested it might become a nuclear power in order to not rely on the United States to defend it.
“It would be inappropriate for me to speculate on a potential policy initiative of the next administration or certainly for me to wade in politics,” said Admiral Harry Harris, commander of US Pacific Command. “That said, I have no doubt that we will continue our steadfast commitment to our allies and partners in the Indo Asia Pacific.”
“I want to ease any concerns from our partners and our potential adversaries: the Indo Asia Pacific is as important to America as it ever has been,” Harris said.
“I believe that our nation remain the security partner of choice in the region and will remain so well into the future,” he added.
US officials including Obama himself have rushed to reassure allies on the heels of Trump’s November 8 election. Trump is due to take office on January 20.