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US Military Chief: Recent Asia Trip To Reassure Regional Allies

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday that his recent visit to Asia was aimed at reassuring allies of Washington's continued commitment to the region.

The US military chief made the remarks while addressing reporters gathered at a Christian Science Monitor lunch event in Washington.

Last week, Dempsey had traveled to Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo amidst tensions triggered by North Korea's recent nuclear test and subsequent threats to launch nuclear strikes against the United States and its regional allies. While it was Dempsey's fourth Asia visit, it was his first trip to China.

While in Seoul and Tokyo, Gen. Dempsey assured South Korean and Japanese leaders that the United States will work with them to deter current threats and shape the security environment of the future.

"At the stop in Beijing, we assured them as well that we will continue to work with them … on forming a new relationship," Dempsey said Tuesday.

Military-to-military contacts between China and the United States have started and stopped many times since President Richard M. Nixon visited China in 1972. Chinese and American leaders are currently attempting to cement these links.

Dempsey stressed that the United States desires a more positive relationship with China, adding: "But it has to be in the context of our existing relationships. Right now, it's a blank sheet of paper."

Noting that the Chinese seemed to welcome the exchange, Gen. Dempsey said he believes that the trip was useful.

by RTT Staff Writer

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