Tags: gates | russia | china

Defense Sec. Gates Plays Down Russia, China Threats

Thursday, 19 Mar 2009 07:52 AM

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday played down the risk of new military challenges to the United States from its two former Cold War adversaries Russia and China.

A day after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russia would rearm its military and boost its nuclear forces, the U.S. defense chief said Moscow is actually moving to reduce the size of its traditional military force.

Gates told reporters at a Pentagon briefing he also does not believe aggressive Chinese behavior against U.S. Navy surveillance vessels in the South China Sea suggests Beijing wants to force the U.S. Pacific fleet from the region.

On Tuesday, Medvedev told Russia's top military brass the prospect of NATO's expansion, combined with the threat of local crises and international terrorism, would require the Russian armed forces to adopt a new modern shape.

The primary task, he said, would be to increase the combat readiness of all Russian forces.

But Gates said the conventional Russian military is actually heading for a downsizing of several hundred thousand personnel.

"As I read between the lines, the first message that he was giving to the Russian military was: 'Don't expect any new equipment for two years'," said Gates, an expert in Soviet studies who ran the CIA in the early 1990s.

"My impression of what he was talking about was a Russian military that is more expeditionary and not so focused, as in the past, on taking on NATO," he said.

"The military is not very happy about this," he added.

On China, the defense chief expressed optimism about diplomatic talks with Beijing that followed a March 8 incident in which the United States say Chinese vessels harassed the U.S. Navy ship Impeccable south of Hainan.

The Impeccable, a U.S. 7th Fleet surveillance ship designed to search for underwater threats including submarines, was in international waters about 75 miles from a Chinese naval center that analysts say is home to ballistic missile submarines.

The Navy said the incident was the latest in a series of increasingly aggressive encounters between U.S. surveillance ships and Chinese craft including naval ships, patrol boats and surveillance planes.

"I don't think that they're trying to push the 7th Fleet out of that area. And I hope, based on the diplomatic exchanges that have taken place since the aggressive acts against the Impeccable ... that there won't be a repetition of this," Gates said.

That would make it unnecessary for the Navy to assign warship escorts to its unarmed surveillance vessels, he said.

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

© 2015 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Army Officer: Bergdahl Charged With Desertion, WH Wants It Kept Quiet

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 23:06 PM

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with desertion, but the White House is trying to keep the story under wraps, a  . . .

Snowstorm Threatens to Paralyze Northeast for Days

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 18:12 PM

Tens of millions of people along the Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor rushed to get home and settle in Monday as a fearso . . .

Sen. Ayotte: Trading Terrorists for Citizens Sets Bad Precedent

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 22:23 PM

Sen. Kelly Ayotte told Fox News she is glad Rep. Duncan Hunter is asking questions about the timing of the release of an . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved