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KUALA LUMPUR: The United States government does not foresee any military confrontation with China nor any other country when it shifts its naval fleet to the Pacific region, said US ambassador to Malaysia, Datuk Paul W. Jones.
"What we see is the growing military capability of China, and what we (would) like is greater transparency and explanation on China's military budget and how it plans to use its forces.
"That is not because we see any confrontation in the future, but because we think it builds stability and confidence when everyone is transparent about what
they are doing and why they are doing it."
Jones told reporters this when asked to comment on Pentagon chief Leon Panetta's announcement in Singapore last Saturday that the US would shift the
bulk of its naval fleet to the Pacific by 2020 as part of a new strategic focus on Asia.
Earlier, Jones presented scholarships to two Malaysians, Suhanraj Rajasegaran and Chan Jun Kwan, to attend a four-year degree programme at the US Military Academy (West Point) and US Naval Academy (Annapolis) respectively, at his office here, today.
Jones said every country should be transparent like what the US had done in its military strategies, including publicly announcing its plans to shift its naval assets to this region.
"We speak about it publicly and we explain the rationale for it and our military budget is transparent and easily accessable on the Internet, and we have open hearings about them. We think that builds confidence.
"We think that when there is cooperation and security strength in the region, that is when you have the most stability. The least you like to hear is any confrontation.
"There should also be the ability to confront some of the transnational threats that can interfere with shipping and economic growth in the region."
Jones said the naval fleet movement was only to maintain peace, security and free navigation in this region and all done through partnership with countries
According to Jones, quite a number of countries had increased their military capability in the region, including China, so it made sense for Washington to be prepared to work with them.
Earlier, in his speech, Jones said the scholarshjip programme was an exciting collaboration between the US and the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF).
"It is a real tribute to the achievement of these two cadets...they will be tested in the next four years. I know they will do well and succeed.
Twenty Malaysians have graduated from various US service academies since 1991 and the last time Malaysians were admitted to these academies was in 2006.
Suhanraj thanked his family and the MAF for this opportunity, promising to make the country proud.
"I'm happy to be selected as one of the candidates. It is a great honour for me and I hope I will succeed in my studies," he said.
Chan said his family's military background that prioritised discipline and his own ambition to become a military officer were the key factors that drove him to win the scholarship.
"My father is a Captain in the Navy and works as communications director at the moment. My two elder brothers also serve in the MAF. Their achievements
have spurred me to become an engineering officer one day," he said. - Bernama