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U.S. reaffirms commitment to freedom of navigation, overflight

2017/12/14 15:31:15

Washington, Dec. 13 (CNA) United States National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster on Wednesday reaffirmed his country's commitment to freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight not only in the South China Sea but everywhere, saying the country that benefits most from such freedoms is China.

In discussions with China, the U.S. has said that freedom of navigation is in the interest of both countries, McMaster said in an annual terrorism conference held by the Jamestown Foundation in Washington D.C.

Any kind of coercive, military power that restricts such freedoms would not be in the interest of the U.S. or the countries in the Asian region, he said in response to a CNA reporter's questions on China's recent flexing of its military muscle by conducting exercises close to Taiwan.

On the question of whether Taiwan has any role in the U.S.' Indo-Pacific regional strategy, McMaster said the U.S.' policy of a "free and open Indo-Pacific region" is aimed at strengthening cooperation with countries in the region not only on defense security but on regional prosperity.

The "free and open Indo-Pacific region" policy, soon to be released, is the focus of U.S. President Donald Trump administration's strategy in the Asia-Pacific, he said.

The key aspect of the policy is to protect the American people and safeguard national security through cooperation with countries in the Asia Pacific region, McMaster said, citing the anti-terrorism cooperation between the U.S. and Indonesia as an example.

The Trump administration is seeking a free, open and reciprocal Indo-Pacific region to promote U.S. prosperity, particularly through its economic and trade policy, McMaster said.

In terms of market access, it should be ensured that no country can achieve unfair advantages through mercantilist policies or use unfair advantages for other purposes such as to make military threats, he said.

(By Rita Cheng and Evelyn Kao)
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