US Mulls Forming Permanent Naval Base in Pacific to Counter China

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Chinese and Malaysian naval vessels take part in a joint escort exercise during their first joint military drill, coded
Chinese and Malaysian naval vessels take part in a joint escort exercise during their first joint military drill, coded "Peace and Friendship 2015", in the Malacca Strait, Sept. 19, 2015. (Xinhua/Liu Wei) (zw)

The US Department of Defense is considering deploying a permanent naval task force in the Pacific as a means to counter China’s growing military power in the area, Politico reported, citing sources.

“We are looking at a number of proposals in the Indo-Pacific and across the Department, to better synchronize and coordinate our activities. However, as the Secretary said, now is the time to get to work, there are many details and specifics still to be finalized,” an unnamed Pentagon official was quoted as saying.

According to the sources, as cited in the report, the plan also involves establishing a named military operation, which means that the Pentagon will be able to secure additional money specifically for dealing with the perceived China threat.

The Pacific group is reportedly expected to be modeled after NATO’s permanent naval force in Europe during the Cold War, the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic. While the size of the new task force remains unknown, the newspaper noted that the typical NATO squadron included six to 10 warships from multiple member states.

The Pentagon is yet to notify Congress on its initiative.

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