US general warns PH, Japan vs escalating tension with China
MANILA, Philippines – The commanding general of the United States air forces in the Pacific warned the Philippines and Japan against recent statements that escalated tensions with China.
General Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle told Bloomberg that the two countries' recent comments comparing China's aggressiveness to Germany's ascension in the first half of the 20th century are "not helpful." He said the situation in the South China Sea (West Philippines Sea) is different. (READ: US general tells Japan, Philippines to cool China rhetoric)
"The de-escalation of tensions has got to be a multilateral approach and it's not just one country that needs to de-escalate," said Carlisle, a former fighter squadron commander now responsible for air force operations for more than half the globe.
In calling for international support earlier, President Benigno Aquino III recalled how the West just watched as Adolf Hitler demanded for Sudetenland in 1938. (READ: Aquino: This battle is not just about China and Palace on 'Hitler' comment: Aquino has right to express views)
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also said Japan and China should avoid the fate of Germany and the United Kingdom, former allies that went to war.
Carlisle highlighted the volatility of the situation. Considering the activities of militaries in the region, he said "the risk of miscalculation is high."
"If you look at some of the things that have been going on in the East China Sea, both militaries have been conducting themselves very professionally," Bloomberg quoted Carlisle.
"But the potential for something – a mistake to occur, or miscalculation or misunderstanding to occur – is out there. There is significantly more activity from both nations around the disputed territorial claims, and that to me is a risk," he added.
Carlisle urged countries involved – including China – to work together to defuse tensions.
He noted some of Japan's "provocative" actions, including Abe's visit to the Yasukini Shrine.
Duplicating China's Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea over the South China Sea would be "very provocative," the general said. Carlisle reiterated that the US opposes this.
"We've strongly, through diplomatic channels, made that known to the PRC," Carlisle said.
Carlisle said the US will need to maintain "a capable air force presence in the region to act as a deterrent and help defuse tensions."
"That's not pointed at any one nation, but nations throughout the world. Our air force continues to advance its capabilities," he said. – Rappler.com