The visit by Secretary of Defense Gates to Singapore highlights Asia's lack of a strong forum for regional security talks. Asian countries are also wary of being squeezed between the US and a rising China.
Secretary Gates's trip to China only revealed an emboldened Beijing on the eve of President Hu's visit to Washington, especially on the issue of Taiwan.
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited China this week and said Tuesday that President Hu Jintao confirmed that China had carried out its first test flight of a stealth fighter jet.
China-US defense chiefs met Tuesday for the first time since Beijing severed links earlier this year. The nations worked to ease tensions over a string of recent maritime disputes in East Asia.