The top commander of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region said Thursday his troops will stay ahead of any military threats in the region under the Pentagon's new defense guidelines.
Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear admitted that the security conditions there are "getting more complex" and the U.S. military is going through budget cuts.
But the Quadrennial Defense Review, released Tuesday, "once again places at the very top the rebalance to Asia as a priority," he said at a forum hosted by the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.
One of the Pentagon's commitments in the QDR is to "ensure that in the Asia Pacific we have not only adequate and robust forward presence but that those are the most high-end and highly capable assets we have," he said.
The U.S. plans to station 60 percent of its Navy assets in the Pacific by 2020, according to the QDR.
The leader of the Pacific Command emphasized that the U.S. military will spend less but it would still represent 40 percent of the world's defense spending.
"So that's not like we are going away from global responsibilities," he said.
He pointed out the U.S. military forward presence has underpinned Washington's alliance with Seoul and Tokyo.
The aspect of "extended deterrence" to the allies, apparently meaning a nuclear umbrella, will remain in place, he said.
"We are looking for ways to ensure that remains viable for the long run," said the admiral.
After the conference, he told reporters that the North Korea issue is getting more serious.
It is not only a problem for the United States and South Korea. It's a problem for the region and the world, he said. (Yonhap)