SECURING the vital shipping lane of the Malacca Straits is the "foremost" responsibility of the littoral states of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, said the newly-appointed Chief of the United States Pacific Command Admiral William Fallon.
He said the three countries were capable of protecting the waterway without the help of the US. His remarks are in contrast to a suggestion by his predecessor that the US deploy troops to help patrol the shipping lane.
"The straits are important and I believe, first and foremost, the responsibility for security of the straits belongs to the nations that occupy the littoral lands and I believe that’s exactly the way it should be," Admiral Fallon said at a Press conference here yesterday.
"I believe the nations of the region can do a very adequate job in taking care of this without our help. I would encourage them to continue to do so," Fallon added.
Last year, Malaysia and Indonesia protested when the former Pacific Commander, Thomas Fargo, unilaterally suggested putting US special operation forces on high speed vessels to safeguard the Straits of Malacca from potential terrorists attacks and to prevent the movement of cargo containing weapons of mass destruction.
Indonesia’s armed forces chief General Endriartono Sutarto yesterday said only the littoral states would deploy troops to protect the sea lane.
Landing the Big One
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Admiral Fallon the new US Pacific Command head, has it exactly right as set out in the New Straits Times