Bác Bob GATES - anh em họ của Bill GATES đã khẩu chiến với bác MÃ Hiểu Thiên - con cháu MÃ VIỆN
"Gates là một nhà ngoại giao lớn và luôn luôn thẳng thừng, nhưng để đối phó với Trung Quốc, có thể ông đã dùng ngôn ngữ quá thẳng thừng. Những nhà lãnh đạo Trung Quốc, đặc biệt là những tướng lĩnh, có thể khó chấp nhận được điều đó."
Mr. Gates is a great statesman and always very frank, but to deal with the Chinese, maybe he makes his language too frank. Chinese leaders, and especially Chinese generals, may find it quite difficult to take.
Shi Yinhong, an expert on Chinese-American relations at Renmin University in Beijing - chuyên gia về quan hệ Trung Quốc - Hoa Kỳ tại Đại học Nhân Dân Bắc Kink
Tướng Mã Hiểu Thiên - viên chức quan trọng quân sự Trung Quốc - đã có những nhận định thẳng thừng về Hoa Kỳ tại một hội nghị trong tuần trước.
Gen. Ma Xiaotian, a Chinese military official, made some blunt remarks about the United States at a conference last week.
There has been a real sea change and hardening of attitude in Chinese government thinking about relations with the United States over the past six or eight months. Under these circumstances, Washington needs to undertake a comprehensive .
Under these circumstances, Washington needs to undertake a comprehensive review of its China strategy and policy from top to bottom.
David Shambaugh, a leading expert on the Chinese military and the Communist Party at George Washington University
"Đã có sự thay đổi lớn lao và cứng rắn hơn trong thái độ suy nghĩ của chính quyền Trung Quốc về những quan hệ với Hoa Kỳ trong vòng sáu đến tám tháng qua. Trong hoàn cảnh này, Washington cần thông qua một kiểm điểm toàn diện về chiến lược đối với Trung Quốc từ trên xuống dưới."
David Shambaugh, chuyên gia hàng đầu về quân sự Trung Quốc và Đảng Cộng sản Trung Quốc tại Đại học George Washington
The verbal fusillade unfolded Saturday at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a meeting of the defense ministers of 28 Asia-Pacific nations attended by, among others, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Gen. Ma Xiaotian, the deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army.
Cuộc khẩu chiến diễn ra hôm thứ bảy tại Đối thoại Sangri-La, hội nghị bao gồm các bộ trưởng quốc phòng của 28 quốc gia châu Á - Thái Bình Dương với sự tham dự của Bộ trưởng Quốc phòng Robert M. Gates và Tướng Mã Hiểu Thiên, Phó Tổng Tham mưu trưởng Quân đội Giải phóng Nhân dân.
That exchange followed China's formal rejection last week of Mr. Gates's proposal to stop in Beijing during his current swing through Asia. And that followed a Chinese admiral's unexpectedly biting lecture on American hegemony, in a private session during last month's Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, that left American diplomats furious and appeared to signal divergent attitudes between China's civilian and military leaders.
Cuộc khẩu chiến này xảy ra sau khi tuần trước Trung Quốc chính thức từ chối đê nghị của ông Gates ghé thăm Bắc Kinh trong chuyến công du qua châu Á hiện nay của ông. Và trước đấy là việc một đô đốc Trung Quốc bất ngờ trong bài phát biểu cắn xé cho rằng người Mỹ là "bá quyền," tại một buổi họp kín riêng tư trong cuộc Đối thoại Chiến lược và Kinh tế tại Bắc Kinh vào tháng trước, việc này làm cho các nhà ngoại giao Hoa Kỳ nổi giận và dường như đã báo hiệu những thái độ khác biệt giữa các nhà lãnh đạo quân sự và dân sự của Trung Quốc.
General Ma laced his speech with barely disguised jabs at the United States.
A cold-war mentality still exists in unnamed nations, he said, with the threat to use force in international relations and interference in other countries' internal affairs code language for American arms sales to Taiwan, which China regards as its territory.
Tướng Mã xen lẫn trong phát biểu của ông bằng nhiều tấn công không cần che đậy đối với Hoa Kỳ.
"Tâm tính chiến tranh lạnh vẫn tồn tại" trong một số các nước không rõ tên, ông nói, với "mối đe doạ sẽ xử dụng sức mạnh trong quan hệ quốc tế và can thiệp vào công việc nội bộ của nước khác" - cách nói ngầm chỉ việc người Mỹ bán vũ khí cho Đài Loan, được Trung Quốc xem như lãnh thổ của mình.
In his speech, Mr. Gates was even more blunt. Military ties between the nations are held hostage by the Taiwan issue, he said, even though American arms sales to Taiwan have been a reality for decades. China cannot change that reality, he said and in any case, Washington does not support Taiwan's independence from the mainland.
Trong bài diễn văn của mình, ông Gates còn thẳng thừng hơn nữa. Các quan hệ quân sự giữa hai nước đang bị "giữ làm con tin" bởi vấn đề Đài Loan, ông nói, ngay cả khi việc Hoa Kỳ bán vũ khi cho Đài Loan "đã xảy ra trong suốt mấy thập niên." Trung Quốc không thể thay đổi thực tế này, ông nói - và trong bất kỳ trường hợp nào, Hoa Thịnh Đốn vẫn không ủng hộ việc Đài Loan tuyên bố độc lập với đại lục.
If anyone ever doubted it, a testy exchange at a Singapore conference last weekend made it clear: Relations between the American and Chinese militaries are in a very deep freeze.
Gen. Ma Xiaotian, a Chinese military official, made some blunt remarks about the United States at a conference last week.
Với ai từng hoài nghi trước đây thì việc khẩu chiến căng thẳng tại hội nghị ở Singapore tuần qua đã cho thấy rõ rằng: Những quan hệ quân sự giữa Hoa Kỳ và Trung Quốc hiện đang băng lạnh vô cùng
Nguyễn Hữu Viện biên dịch
The 9th IISS Asia Security Summit
The Shangri-La Dialogue
Saturday 05 June 2010
First Plenary Session
Strengthening Security Partnerships
in the Asia-Pacific
Dr Robert M Gates
Secretary of Defense, United States
Thank you, John, for that kind introduction and, of course, as always, my thanks to everyone with the International Institute for Strategic Studies for making this conference possible. Your hard work makes a valuable contribution to the international dialogue and facilitates understanding among the countries represented here. I would also be remiss if I did not extend my gratitude to our Singaporean hosts and, of course, the Shangri-La Hotel for preparing for this event.
As you mentioned, John, this is the fourth consecutive year that I have had the opportunity to address this forum as the United States Secretary of Defense. Each time I have spoken here, I have emphasised that the US is a Pacific nation and is, and will remain, a power in the Pacific. I do so for a reason: with sovereign territory and longstanding economic and cultural ties to this region, Americas security interests and economic well-being are integrally tied to Asias. As President Obama has noted, Asia and the US are not separated by the Pacific Ocean we are bound by it.
When I last stood before you, I did so only a few months after a new administration had taken office. President Obamas policies toward this region were still evolving, but I noted that he had a very personal connection to this part of the world, and that, regardless of new initiatives or different areas of emphasis under his administration, the underlying themes of continuity and engagement in Asia would hold true. The US has responsibilities to friends and allies, and will not waver in its longstanding commitments here. Indeed, we will continue to deepen and expand our alliances and partnerships.
In the next few minutes, I would like to provide an overview of how the US sees its responsibilities in the Asia-Pacific region within the context of broader US defence priorities and events over the past year. As a starting point, it is important to remember that the success this region has enjoyed over the past several decades its unprecedented economic growth and political development was not a foregone conclusion. Rather, it was enabled by clear choices about the enduring principles that we all believe are essential to peace, prosperity, and stability. These include our commitment to free and open commerce, a just international order that emphasises rights and responsibilities of nations and fidelity to the rule of law, open access by all to the global commons of sea, air, space, and now, cyberspace, and the principle of resolving conflict without the use of force.
Simply put, pursuing our common interests has increased our common security. Today, the Asia-Pacific region is contending with new and evolving challenges, from rising powers and failing states, to the proliferation of nuclear and ballistic missiles, extremist violence, and new technologies that have the ability to disrupt the foundations of trade and commerce on which Asias economic stability depends. Confronting these threats is not the task of any one nation acting alone. Rather, our collective response will test our commitment to the principles I just mentioned principles that are key to the regions continued prosperity. In this, all of us have responsibilities we must fulfil, since all will bear the costs of instability as well as the rewards of international cooperation.
My governments overriding obligation to allies, partners, and the region is to reaffirm Americas security commitments in this region. Over the past year, the Obama administration has begun to lay out the architecture of Americas future defence posture through a series of strategy reviews. These reviews were shaped by a bracing dose of realism, and in a very sober and clear-eyed way assessed risks, set priorities, made tradeoffs, and identified requirements based on plausible, real-world threats, scenarios, and potential adversaries. It has become clear to us that an effective, affordable, and sustainable US defence posture requires a broad portfolio of military capabilities with maximum versatility across the widest possible spectrum of conflict. Fielding these capabilities, and demonstrating the resolve to use them if necessary, assures friends and potential adversaries alike of the credibility of US security commitments through our ability to defend against the full range of potential threats.
With regard to Asia, the US is increasing its deterrent capabilities in a number of ways. Firstly, we are taking serious steps to enhance our missile defences with the intent to develop capabilities in Asia that are flexible and deployable, tailored to the unique needs of our allies and partners and able to counter the clear and growing ballistic missile threats in the region. Secondly, we are renewing our commitment to a strong and effective extended deterrence that guarantees the safety of the American people and the defence of our allies and partners. As President Obama has stated, this administration is committed to reducing the role of nuclear weapons as we work toward a world without such weapons but, as long as these weapons exist, we will maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal. Finally, as has been the case for six decades, the strength of US commitment and deterrent power will be expressed through the continued forward presence of substantial US forces in the region. While this is the subject of a Global Posture Review scheduled to be completed toward the end of the year, one general trend should be clear: the US defence posture in Asia is shifting to one that is more geographically distributed, operationally resilient, and politically sustainable. The build-up on Guam is part of this shift, as well as the agreement reached on basing with Japan, an agreement that fittingly comes during the 50th anniversary of our mutual security alliance and transcends any individual policymaker.
Broadly speaking, it is important to note that we should not measure US presence, and the associated impact and influence, solely in terms of conventional military bases. Rather, we must think more about US presence in the broader sense of what we achieve in the region the connections made, the results accomplished and this includes everything from medical teams, to civil engineering personnel, to partner militaries that are more professional and capable of contributing to international efforts to deal with the most vexing security challenges we face.
These kinds of activities reflect a priority of the overall US security strategy: to prevent and deter conflict by better deploying and integrating all the elements of our national power and international cooperation. As we have learned, military capabilities are critically important but, by themselves, do not deter conflict; sustained diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties also play vital roles in maintaining stability and improving relationships. The history of the past 60 years in this part of the world has proven that historic tensions can be overcome, that instability can be avoided, and that strategic rivalries are not inevitable.
As has been the case throughout the years, the responsibility to prevent and deter conflict must be shared by everyone in the region. Last fall, President Obama and President Hu made a commitment to advance sustained and reliable military-to-military relations between the United States and the Peoples Republic of China. The key words here are sustained and reliable not a relationship repeatedly interrupted by and subject to the vagaries of political weather. Regrettably, we have not been able to make progress on this relationship in recent months. Chinese officials have broken off interactions between our militaries, citing US arms sales to Taiwan as the rationale.
For a variety of reasons, this makes little sense:
Firstly, US arms sales to Taiwan are nothing new. They have been a reality for decades and spanned multiple American administrations.
Secondly, the United States has for years demonstrated in a very public way that we do not support independence for Taiwan. Nothing I repeat, nothing has changed in that stance.
Finally, because Chinas accelerating military build-up is largely focused on Taiwan, US arms sales are an important component of maintaining peace and stability in cross-strait relations and throughout the region.
Considering all this, President Obamas decision in January to sell select defensive weapons to Taiwan should come as no surprise. It was based on well-established precedent and the longstanding belief of the US government that a peaceful and non-coerced resolution to the Taiwan issue is an abiding national interest and vital for the overall security of Asia.
The US and China clearly disagree on this matter. Yet Taiwan arms sales over the decades in fact, since normalisation have not impeded closer political and economic ties, nor closer ties in other security arenas of mutual interest, which I know all too well. Only in the military-to-military arena has progress on critical mutual security issues been held hostage over something that is, quite frankly, old news. It has been clear to everyone during the more than 30 years since normalisation that interruptions in our military relationship with China will not change US policy toward Taiwan.
That said, I can tell you all that the US Department of Defense wants what both Presidents Obama and Hu want: sustained and reliable military-to-military contacts at all levels that reduce miscommunication, misunderstanding, and miscalculation. There is a real cost to the absence of military-to-military relations. I believe they are essential to regional security and essential to developing a broad, resilient US-China relationship that is positive in tone, cooperative in nature, and comprehensive in scope. The US, for its part, is ready to work toward these goals.
Of course, building greater trust and enhancing transparency is a common interest of all the countries represented here. On this note, I welcome the increase in recent years of multilateral forums in which Asian countries can discuss security issues and share information. Though progress has been made, I believe more can be done. We can only deal with the complex threats of the twenty-first century through an increased commitment to results-oriented multilateral cooperation. I should mention here that yesterday I was pleased to accept Minister Thanhs invitation to participate in the expanded ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting in Hanoi this October.
One of the most important areas where these forums can play a role is in promoting open, transparent, and equal access to the global commons. Whether the issue is cyberspace, maritime security, or freedom of navigation, it is clear that increased multilateral dialogue is necessary to avoid unnecessary tensions, miscalculations, and, in a worst-case scenario, open conflict. It is the longstanding policy of the US to defend these principles and we will continue to do so in the future. In Asia, we have placed a particular importance on the maritime commons for many years for security, for trade and commerce, and free passage. We must strive together for outcomes and solutions that are not zero-sum pitting one nations interests against anothers.
In this respect, the South China Sea is an area of growing concern. This sea is not only vital to those directly bordering it, but to all nations with economic and security interests in Asia. Our policy is clear: it is essential that stability, freedom of navigation, and free and unhindered economic development be maintained. We do not take sides on any competing sovereignty claims, but we do oppose the use of force and actions that hinder freedom of navigation. We object to any effort to intimidate US corporations or those of any nation engaged in legitimate economic activity. All parties must work together to resolve differences through peaceful, multilateral efforts consistent with customary international law. The 2002 Declaration of Conduct was an important step in this direction and we hope that concrete implementation of this agreement will continue.
Another aspect of maritime security and the overall US defence strategy in this region is building partner capacity. After all, shared responsibilities for security in Asia require, as a starting point, that individual nations have the ability to contribute in the first place that they possess the means not only to secure their own territories, but also to export security abroad. As our partners develop new capabilities, they have a responsibility to take a greater role in providing for regional and global security. Whether in the Gulf of Aden, or in Iraq, or in Afghanistan, the nations of Asia are making vital contributions to international operations. They are demonstrating real responsibility on the global stage.
On the other hand, we all face the reality of North Korea, which continues to undermine the peace and stability of Asia. As you know, on March 26th, North Korea, in an unprovoked attack, sank the Cheonan, a South Korean ship patrolling South Korean territorial waters, and in so doing killed 46 South Korean sailors. This sinking is far more than a single, isolated incident with tragic results for the sailors and their families. It is, rather, part of a larger pattern of provocative and reckless behaviour. As I pointed out last year at this forum, North Korea has for some time faced the choice of continuing as a destitute, international pariah or charting a new path. Since then, the North Korean regime has only further isolated itself from the international community.
Since the sinking of the Cheonan, the US, the Republic of Korea, and others have been in close consultations. My government has offered full support of our ally in this difficult hour. We will conduct combined military exercises with South Korea and support action in the United Nations Security Council. At the same time, we are assessing additional options to hold North Korea accountable. The nations of this region share the task of addressing these dangerous provocations. Inaction would amount to an abdication of our collective responsibility to protect the peace and reinforce stability in Asia. North Korea must cease its belligerent behaviour and demonstrate clearly and decisively that it wants to pursue a different path.
Overall, everything I have discussed today is emblematic of a renewed and deepening commitment to this region and the partnerships we have worked hard to cultivate over the decades. We are, and will remain, a Pacific power. There is no question that, in the future, even more than in the past, the safety, security, and economic well-being of the US will be increasingly linked to Asia. The US defence strategy in this region reflects continuing recognition of both old and new challenges to peace and security, from North Korea to extremist terrorism, while acknowledging the many changes that have taken place in recent years, especially the rise of Asia and its place in the global order. All of this calls on us to step forward and counter new threats and harness new opportunities. The US is prepared to do just that, and we ask that all the nations represented here join us, as together we work to forge a peaceful and prosperous future. Thank you.
Question and Answer Session
Dr John Chipman Mr Secretary, thank you very much, and especially for the strong message that you gave us that strategic rivalries are not inevitable and that sustained and reliable military cooperation with China is important. You made many other important reflections as well, which will have inspired debate and comment.
Yoichi Kato, National Security Correspondent, The Asahi Shimbun Thank you, Mr Secretary, for a comprehensive and very clear message. You talked about the credibility of US deterrence and I would like to ask you about deterrence in a conventional way. What happened in Korea, namely the sinking of the South Korean ship by North Korea, was of great concern to the regional states, including Japan, in the sense of the credibility of the US deterrence. Apparently, North Korea was not deterred from making that attack and I hope this was not an indication of the deterioration of the US deterrence in this region. Could you please tell us what we should read into the incident in terms of the credibility of the US deterrence? Thank you.
Dr Robert Gates First of all, I think what it demonstrates is that a surprise and unprovoked attack by a country is very difficult to defend against, and particularly in a period when there has been no escalation of tensions that would lead people to place their forces on a higher level of alert. So I think we have seen once again the military benefits of a surprise attack, I am sad to say. I think the reality is US military power, and particularly conventional power, is, in my view, as strong today as it has ever been in the Pacific. We are looking at ways to strengthen it further.
Part of the effort that I have underway in terms of reallocations within the US defense budget is in fact to protect our force structure to ensure that we can continue our ship-building, building of modern aircraft, and so on to be able to deal with whatever threats emerge, both here in Asia and elsewhere in the years to come, despite economic stringencies that affect most of our countries. So I think the reality is there is no question about the strength of our conventional forces. There is no question about the striking capability of those forces.
The question that people have to contemplate is: what are the consequences for a country like North Korea of an unprovoked surprise attack on a neighbour? For nothing to happen would be a very bad precedent here in Asia and so I think we need to work together in terms of how to deal with this.
Participant, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore Secretary Gates, there are many reasons why the US won the Cold War against the Soviet Union, but one reason was that US economic performance significantly outperformed Soviet economic performance. Today, there is a surprising degree of pessimism about US economic prospects in the next few decades whilst there is a rising level of confidence in Chinas prospects. To use an old Soviet phrase, how is this going to affect the correlation of forces in the Pacific if these trends continue?
Dr Robert Gates It will not surprise you to know that when it comes to the US, I am an eternal optimist, and I would tell you also as a historian that history is filled with examples of countries that thought the US was in decline and underestimated our recuperative powers and our ability to correct course when it was required. I think one of the advantages that the US brings to the global economy and I am no economist is that we are without question, in my view, the most self-critical society in the world.
We are faster to identify our problems, our underlying issues, and then take action to address those concerns than virtually any other major power, and I think we will see that. We certainly, along with many other countries in the world, are going through a tough period economically. We are already seeing our economy recover and I have no doubt that the kind of economic strength that is required, frankly, from my perspective, to sustain our military capabilities as well as the prosperity of the people will return reasonably quickly.
But I think it does raise an important point and one that I have spoken about at home, and we actually saw it in the case of the Soviet Union: you cannot have great military power that is not sustained by great economic power. Therefore, we have to do what we can to ensure from the military standpoint that we are spending our dollars as wisely as possible so that we can make a contribution in the recovery of fiscal discipline in the US. But I have no doubt about the correlation of forces.
Correlation of forces between the US and China is about countries that are economic co-operators as well as competitors, but it is peaceful competition and it is exactly the kind of competition that the world needs in the economic sphere. So I do not see this as an adversarial relationship but one of mutual benefit going forward, and so as we come back from our economic problems I would expect to see the two-way trade between the US and China continue to grow.
Daniel Fung, Senior Counsel, Des Voeux Chambers; National Delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference; Chairman, Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority; IISS Council Member Secretary Gates, thank you for that very clear reiteration of US policy to sustained and reliable military ties with China. However, given the decline by Beijing to approve or to delay the summit of defense chiefs of the two countries, to what extent is the US ready, willing, and able to address Chinas concerns on arms sales to Taiwan. I note you comment, Secretary Gates, that this is nothing new, but from the Chinese perspective, if one were to take as a starting point President Reagans 1982 Shanghai Communiqué commitment to declining arms sales to Taiwan, and given the reality over the past 28 years that arms sales have not declined, given also improving Mainland-Taiwan cross-straits relations, to what extent should that issue be revisited so as not to jeopardise or rather to facilitate military-to-military relations between the two countries?
Dr Robert Gates First of all, as I underscored, from the time of normalisation on, the US, as a result of the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, has been obligated to provide minimal levels of defensive capability for Taiwan. Having been through this in 2007 with the Bush administration and last year with the Obama administration, I can tell you that in both administrations the items that were considered for sale were carefully thought-through with a focus on ensuring that we were providing defensive capabilities and, at the same time, underscoring, as I said in my remarks, our continued opposition to independence for Taiwan.
We strongly encourage the cross-straits improvement in relations and perhaps a time will come when this issue will go away because of those improved relations, but we will maintain our obligations and, frankly, I would very much like to, as I said in my remarks, see the military-to-military relationship cease being the sole focus of the response to these sales because I think that there is great opportunity and great benefit in a greater dialogue between us. When I was in China in 2007 and met with President Hu, we agreed on a long list of areas where we thought US-Chinese military cooperation could be expanded in terms of exercises, in terms of exchanges amongst our professional military educational organisations, in terms of younger offices, and work together in areas associated with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
There is still a very positive agenda out there for the two of us. In addition to my strong belief that, as was the case during a very long period of time with the Soviet Union, in the discussions between the US and the Soviet military, there were many occasions in which miscalculations and misunderstandings were avoided. I believe that kind of a dialogue would be useful and productive between the US and China as well.
Fleur de Villiers, Chairman of the IISS Board of Trustees Thank you, Secretary Gates, for a very thought-provoking and dense address. In referring to your response to the sinking of the Cheonan, however, you said that two responses obviously were the referral to the Security Council and combined exercises with South Korea. You also teased us a little in saying that you were looking at further options. I wonder if you could, in this forum, elaborate perhaps on what those other options might be.
Dr Robert Gates I would prefer just to tease you.
Dr Lee Chung Min, Ambassador for International Security Affairs and Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asian Security Affairs, IISS Thank you, Mr Secretary. As a member of the Korean delegation, I would like to really thank you for your unstinting support on behalf of our government at a time of national security challenges. I have two quick questions. You have mentioned hybrid security challenges as the most important issue in the next five to 10 year timeframe. How do you then assess the so-called interagency intelligence coordination process within your government and what type of intra or inter-ally intelligence cooperation would you like to see in this part of the world, in particular between the US, Japan, and South Korea? Thank you.
Dr Robert Gates First of all, I think that there has been a dramatic improvement in the sharing of intelligence within the US government over the years. When I was on the Iraq Study Group and visited Baghdad in September 2006, I met with the senior CIA officer and asked him how the cooperation between the CIA and the military was going, and he said, perhaps without thinking through exactly what he was saying, Sir, it is so much better than when you were director. But what we have seen, in no small part because of our engagements in both Iraq and Afghanistan, is a dramatic improvement in the sharing of intelligence within our government.
But one of the other developments that we have seen that I think has great promise for the future is that we have also strengthened the sharing of intelligence with our partners in Afghanistan in particular. In Kandahar and various fusion centres, more and more of our allies are being exposed to more and more of our intelligence, and we to their intelligence, and I think that this has huge options going forward. I think there are still some obstacles between governments in terms of intelligence-sharing but I think that, as we face common threats, such as violent extremism, the exchange of information and particularly warning information amongst countries that you might not ordinarily think of as partners or allies has benefit because, in many cases, we share a common enemy people who are trying to kill our innocent citizens.
So I think that we have made a lot of improvements inside the US government in terms of sharing but I think these conflicts and the number of partners we have had, particularly in Afghanistan, has also sparked a new wave of figuring out how to share intelligence amongst states, and I think it is a positive development and one that we should build on.
Major General Zhu Chenghu, National Defense University, Peoples Republic of China Sir, I want to make a very short comment on your remarks on the suspension of the military ties between our two countries. It seems to me that it is not fair enough to owe the suspension of the military ties between China and the US to the PLA or to the Chinese government because the Chinese have never hurt or damaged the interests of the US, whilst the sales of arms to Taiwan really hurts the core interests of China. I believe this sort of arms sale sends the wrong signal to the Chinese that is the Chinese are taking the Americans as partners as well as friends whilst you Americans take the Chinese as the enemy. The sole purpose, according to the understanding of most Chinese, of the arms sale is intended to prevent the unification of China. Therefore, when the Chinese core interest is hurt, I think this sort of response is quite understandable. This is my comment on your remarks.
I have a question: as you know, recently two incidents have attracted the attention and aroused the concern of the world community. One is the Cheonan incident. On this incident, as you know, there are controversial views on who did it. The other incident that has happened recently in the Mediterranean Sea was committed by the Israeli military. It seems to me that there is a wide gap in US attitudes and policy towards the two incidents. Would you please compare the policies and attitudes of the US towards these two incidents that recently happened? Thank you.
Dr Robert Gates First of all I would just like to state for the record that the United States does not consider China to be an enemy, but as a partner in many areas. There are a growing number of areas where we are working together, which makes the lack of progress on the military side stand out all the more. I go back to a comment that I made at the very outset of the question and answers session: The attack on the Cheonan was a surprise attack without any warning and with the death of 46 sailors. Regarding the tragedy in the eastern Mediterranean, there were warnings issued to the ships. I wont make judgements on responsibility or fault - I believe there is value in an investigation that has international credibility in terms of responsibility in that case - however, there was no surprise associated with it. I believe it needs to be investigated and we will withhold judgement until that investigation is complete, however, I think there is no comparison whatsoever between what happened in the eastern Mediterranean and what happened to the Cheonan.
Dr Han Sung-Joo, Chairman, The Asan Institute for Policy Studies; former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Korea; IISS Member Mr Secretary, you mentioned extended deterrents as an important part of deterrents capabilities. Can you give us a laymans explanation of what extended deterrents involve and the scope of them? What areas are involved in what you call extended deterrents?
Dr Robert Gates Well, for us with our allies and partners her in Asia, extended deterrents are in essence through both conventional and nuclear capabilities we will extend an umbrella of protection over our allies. I would say that it is an umbrella that is also intended to avoid further proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. As long as our extended deterrents are reliable and believed in by our allies and partners, then there is no need for additional nations to develop nuclear weapons. We think that is a positive good. We intend to continue these extended deterrents. We are investing billions of dollars in our nuclear infrastructure to ensure that our stockpile is safe and reliable and effective. Our new F‑35 fighter will be a duel capable aircraft. Therefore, I believe that we are making the appropriate investments to ensure that that extended deterrents is sustained far into the future.
Manish Tewari, Member of Parliament and National Spokesperson, Indian National Congress
Mr Secretary, last night the President of South Korea spoke about the situation in the Korean Peninsula extensile and in your remarks you have also articulated your concerns. I have a short question, would it be possible for you to give us a read about the status of the current involvement of Democratic People's Republic of Korea in nuclear and missile proliferation considering that this issue was also a matter of concern in our region a couple of years ago?
Dr Robert Gates I think theres a fairly sustained and elaborate record of North Korea providing ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction technologies to other countries. This has been one of our concerns about the developments in North Korea essentially their willingness to sell anything they have to anybody who has the cash to buy it. I think its one of the reasons we have the elaborate UN Security Council resolutions that we have, trying to inhibit this trade going from North Korea to a variety of other countries.
Barry Desker, Dean, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University; IISS Member Secretary Gates, how do you see the issue of US basing arrangements in Okinawa proceeding with the new government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan? And while I have the floor, given your dismal assessment of the US/China Military to Military relationship, what steps can be taken to improve this relationship if the cessation of US arm sales to Taiwan is a non-starter?
Dr Robert Gates
First of all, I think the way forward in Okinawa and in our security relationship with Japan was signalled by the issuance of the two-plus-two statement last week in terms of going forward - that was signed by myself and my counterpart and Secretary Clinton and her counterpart. I believe we now need to work together in terms of some of the commitments that were made in that agreement. In terms of alternative areas for training and exercises; in terms of noise mitigation for people of Okinawa; new green initiatives to deal with environmental issues of Okinawa. We do have a list of actions that I think we need to take together now. However, based on the two-plus-two agreement, I believe we are in a position to move forward at this point. With respect to the military relationship, through this thirty year period, there have been periods of advance and periods of stagnation in the relationship. My suspicion is that the way to get the relationship back on track is through a series of step-by-step measures that both sides agree to take, that begin slowly to widen the aperture in terms of which our cooperation can take place.
Professor Simon Chesterman, Global Professor and Director, New York University School of Law Singapore Programme, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore; IISS Member
Thank you Secretary Gates. Id like to return to a point you were addressing in your response to the question about intelligence sharing within the United States, in particular between the DOD (Department of Defense) and the CIA. Last week, UN special rapporteur Philip Alston was critical of drone strikes, in particular in Pakistan but also elsewhere. He was particularly critical of the role of the CIA, whose accountability mechanisms he compared unfavourably to the DOD. I have two questions. Firstly, do you have accountability concerns about the role of the CIA in drone strikes, and secondly, do you see this as a trend that will continue or decline in future years?
Dr Robert Gates
First of all, I am not going to get into any discussion of any kind of operations, but in terms of accountability, I would just say that I have watched this process develop since the onset of Congressional oversight in the United States of intelligence operations in the mid-1970s. That oversight has become progressively better better informed and fulsome. I have no doubt whatsoever that the intelligence committees in the united States Congress are fully informed of the activities the CIA is carrying out, just as we inform the armed services committees of the activities that we are carrying out. We now have almost two generations of intelligence officers in the United States who have grown-up with an intrusive, legislative oversight of intelligence operations. There is no resistance to this oversight in American intelligence, whether it is CIA or military intelligence. It is a part of our culture, and frankly, we take pride in it. And frankly, as I wrote in my book, I have found it was helpful over the years; in meetings in the situation room - when someone would come up with a cockamamie idea for a covert operation - to be able to say, It will never fly on Capitol Hill. Therefore, I think that Congressional oversight also happens to provide some protection for the intelligence agencies when they are asked to do things that may not make sense. Overall, I would say that accountability is thorough and I think there is full accountability to the Congress by the CIA.
Mr Secretary, I think you have provoked us into thinking more strategically about defense relationships in the region and also provided clear policy ideas on how that can be done. For your strong address and frank answers to questions, we thank you very much.