PACFLT Chief: U.S. ‘Ready and Prepared’ for South China Sea Conflict

The new U.S. commander of the Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) assured allies Friday that American Forces are well-equipped and ready to respond to any issue that may arise in the South China Sea, where territorial disputes between China and various Pacific nations have sparked widespread uncertainty.

PACFLT commander Admiral Scott Swift said that the Navy might end up deploying more than the four coastal combat ships it has already committed to the region, as well as expanding the annual combat exercises the Navy holds with its allies into a multi-nation drill.

Recent territorial disputes involving China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have caused concern that the disputes could escalate into a major armed conflict. The United States, Swift emphasized, is not taking sides but will continue operations to ensure freedom of access in disputed waters.