Obama tells Asia, US here to stay
China, which has longstanding fears that its growing power could be hobbled by US influence, voiced misgivings about Obama’s announcement of a de facto military base in Australia. Obama acknowledged China’s unease at what it sees as attempts by Washington to encircle it, pledging to seek greater cooperation with Beijing.
The US military, turning its focus away from Iraq and Afghanistan, would be more broadly distributed in Asia, particularly Southeast Asia, more flexible and help build regional capacity, he told the Australian parliament.
“As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia Pacific a top priority,” Obama said in a major speech on Washington’s vision for the Asia-Pacific region. “As a result, reductions in US defence spending will not -I repeat, will not - come at the expense of the Asia Pacific.”
He added: “We’ll seek more opportunities for cooperation with Beijing, including greater communication between our militaries to promote understanding and avoid miscalculation.”
Nervous about China’s growing clout, US allies such as Japan and South Korea have sought assurances from the United States that it would be a strong counterweight in the region.
A first step in extending the US military reach into Southeast Asia will see US Marines, naval ships and aircraft deployed to
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