US neutral on East Sea issues, says Pacific Fleet commander

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Although the US has significant interests in the East Sea, it is neutral on regional disputes, Admiral Cecil D. Haney, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, told a press conference in Vietnam Friday.

Disputes in the East Sea must be solved via peaceful measures and on the basis of international laws, he said when asked about recent tensions in the region.

The commander also stressed that the US Navy's increasing  presence in the Pacific is never a cause of tension but helps maintain the region's marine security, which plays an important role in the region's development.

By increasing its presence with 60 percent of its naval power moved to the Pacific, the US also wants to improve cooperation to help regional countries handle natural disasters better, he stressed.

The oceans and seas are too vast and complicated to be protected by one country, so multilateral approaches are needed to help related parties improve and maintain their cooperation to preserve security, the commander said.

The recent history of the Asia-Pacific showed that socio-economic development in regional countries is mainly due to sea stability and security, as well as shared interests, Haney said.

According to a report on Vietnam News Agency, Haney also met with Admiral Nguyen Van Hien, commander of the Vietnam People's Navy, in the northern city of Hai Phong that same day .

At the meeting, Hien said he appreciated the annual exchanges that the US Navy and the Vietnam Navy have conducted to date.

He expressed his hope that Haney would help the continued improvement of the countries' naval and national defense cooperation.

According to the news agency, the US commander will also meet with leaders of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and authorities in the central province of Nghe An during his stay.

The Pacific Partnership 2012 Humanitarian and Civic Assistance Project in Nghe An Province is financed by the US Pacific Navy and is providing medical and development assistance in the region.

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