May 19, 2006

Navy to beef up presence in Asian waters: report

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - The Pacific fleet of the U.S. Navy
aims to step up the number of submarines and aircraft carriers
in Asian waters to patrol the region and ensure security, its
commander said on Friday.

"It is clear to us the prosperity of (the) economy in the
region depends on security," official news agency Bernama
quoted Admiral Gary Roughead, commander of the U.S. Pacific
Fleet, as telling local reporters during a visit to Malaysia.

He gave no further details of the plans, but added that the

United States had no intention of interfering with other
countries in the Pacific region.

Roughead said countries in the region should strengthen
their ability to face submarine attacks that could threaten
international trade routes such as the Malacca Strait.

The narrow, strategic waterway is an 805-km (500-mile)
channel linking Asia with the Middle East and Europe and
carries some 50,000 vessels a year.

It also carries some 40 percent of the world's trade,
including 80 percent of Japan's and South Korea's oil and gas
and 80 percent of China's oil, according to a U.S.-Indonesia
Society 2005 study on the impact of a terrorism attack in the