US 'pivot' to Asia gaining strength: Admiral
ABOARD THE USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States has significantly increased its warships and aircraft deployed in Asia despite Washington's budget woes, adding punch to its "pivot" to the region, a senior naval commander said.
Rear Admiral Mark C. Montgomery, commander of an aircraft carrier strike group homeported in Yokosuka, Japan, said the expanded military presence would have a calming effect on simmering tensions and territorial disputes in the region.
"The strategic rebalancing has resulted in an extremely higher number of surface combatants, cruisers and destroyers that support the strike group," Montgomery told AFP in an interview on Wednesday aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington in the South China Sea.
"What we've seen is an increase in surface combatant presence here in the Western Pacific... so these ships are spread throughout those areas," he said, in the interview at the flag bridge of the nuclear-powered supercarrier as fighter jets took off and landed on the deck as part of drills.