US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has warned that China and Russia are challenging the United States as they are investing in their military capabilities.
“Most persistent and pressing security challenges to Europe and the United States are global,” Hagel said during the Munich Security Conference, the most important transatlantic security gathering, on Saturday.
“Nations such as China and Russia are rapidly modernizing their militaries and global defense industries, challenging our technological edge and defense partnerships around the world,” he said.
The Pentagon chief, who was addressing the conference with Secretary of State John Kerry, stated that the US military has been reorganizing to deal with new threats.
He also noted that the United States is expanding its military across the world more than before.
“I would venture to say, the United States is more present, doing more things in more places today than maybe ever before,” Hagel said.
“How we’re doing it is different,” he said. “If that narrative is not getting out there, then maybe that’s our fault.”
Secretary Kerry also confirmed Hagel’s remarks during his speech, pushing pack against criticism that the US is retreating from the Middle East and the rest of the world.
“I can’t think of a place in the world that we are retreating, not one,” Kerry said.
“We are facing threats of terrorism and untamed growth in radical sectarianism and religious extremism,” Kerry said. “America needs a strong Europe and Europe needs a committed and engaged America. And that means, turning inward is not an option for any of us.”
Kerry said the US and Europe need a transatlantic renaissance, “a new burst of energy and commitment and investment in the three roots of our strength: our economic prosperity, our shared security and the common values that sustain us.”
President Barack Obama has put Washington’s focus toward Asia in a strategy known as “pivot to Asia.”
The strategy has irked Russia and China which have repeatedly voiced concerns over the Obama administration’s increasing military presence in the region.
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