Speaking during a teleconference with Asia-Pacific journalists, O’Brien was asked, amid the heated political climate at home, what the US would do to calm its allies in the region and ensure China didn’t act up.
O’Brien said his visit to Manila was one way to “calm down” US allies in the region. He said the US is a Pacific power and has a long coastline like most countries in the region.
“We are also a major Pacific power and we have a long-term commitment here and we have that commitment, whether we are led by a Democratic or Republican president,” he said. (Also read: US Warns China Not to Use Military Force against Taiwan)
He went on to say that there was a series of unfair and difficult behaviors on behalf of China, so there was a bipartisan consensus in America that they had to fight China. O’Brien said Washington does not want to be hostile to China and wants to build good relations with its citizens and government.
But, he explained, the U.S. objected to the efforts of China and the Chinese Communist Party to interfere in American politics, interfere with U.S. policy and interfere in the internal affairs of U.S. allies in the region. (Also read: China Smoothly Launches the Chang’e 5 Historical Mission to the Moon)
According to him, that kind of behavior is something that really angers Americans from both parties, Democrats and Republicans, and he thinks it’s something that people in the region, no matter which country they live in, are very worried about.
“So our message is we will be here, we support you and we will not leave. We will not be pushed out of the Indo-Pacific region. We will fight for a free and open Indo-Pacific region with all our friends and partners. , “he said.
“And, I think when we send that message, the message of peace through force, is a way of deterring China. It’s a way of ensuring peace and a way of ensuring that there is no war in the region,” he said.