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Authored by Dr. Andrew Scobell. | April 2001
The stability of the Asia-Pacific is a vital U.S. national interest. To ensure stability in the region, all the instruments of national power must be brought into play. The Taiwan Strait has replaced the Korean Peninsula as the most dangerous flashpoint in the Asia-Pacific. The United States must focus special attention on the ongoing tensions in the Strait both in terms of deterring a conflict and promoting reconciliation between China and Taiwan.
Military power, primarily in the form of a continued forward presence, is an invaluable dimension. This presence is only possible and effective with a vigorous network of allies and friends in the region. With the ongoing transformations in Northeast Asia, every effort should be made to ensure that the United States is able to maintain forward bases in the region. This probably will entail reconfiguring our current forces in South Korea and Japan and, very possibly, involve relocating personnel to other locations in Southeast Asia, Australasia and/or U.S. possessions in the Pacific.