HONOLULU — The 2005 Pacific Symposium kicked off today with more than 220
representatives from 40 Asia-Pacific Countries. This annual event, co-hosted by
U.S. Pacific Command, the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies and the
National Defense University, brings together participants to discuss important
issues impacting the region. Participants include military leaders, scholars,
diplomats and others.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Asia Pacific Democracies: Advancing
Prosperity and Security.” The expansion of democracy and sustained economic
growth in Asia present new opportunities and challenges for U.S. policy toward
the region. These developments also have implications for civil-military
relations, alliance responsibilities, and security cooperation. Attendees will
examine political transitions in Asia, their consequences for the region and the
implications for U.S. foreign and security policies.

Officials and experts at the 2005 Pacific Symposium will explore such key
questions as: the progress and problems of democratic transitions in East Asia
and the Pacific, how the United States can build contacts with new political
forces without interfering in democratic processes, and which policies will
encourage democratization and effective security cooperation with democratic
friends and allies. Other issues to be considered will include: globalization;
generational changes; economic and domestic political developments; the impact
of the South East and South Asian tsunami on humanitarian, disaster relief and
regional security cooperation; and differing perceptions of threats and U.S.
policies in the region.

Key note speakers include Vice Admiral Gary Roughhead, USN, deputy commander for
U.S. Pacific Command, and Dr. Fumio Ota, director of the Center for Security and
Crisis Management Education, National Defense Academy and former director of the
Defense Intelligence Headquarters, Japan Defense Agency.

The conference, held at the Waikiki Marriott Resort, runs until Friday, June 10.