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Entries in Asia/Pacific (1)

Wednesday
Nov162011

Obama Asserts Commitment to Asia/Pacific in Australia

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(CANBERRA) -- In a sweeping address before the Australian parliament, President Obama heralded his administration’s “deliberate and strategic decision” to recalibrate U.S. foreign policy in the Pacific, anchoring its new approach in the “unbreakable” 60-year alliance with Australia.

“The bonds between us run deep,” Obama told a packed House chamber in Canberra. “In each other’s story we see so much of ourselves.”

Recalling his first visit to Australia as a young boy, Obama told his hosts he’s always identified with “your optimism, your easygoing ways, your irreverent sense of humor” -- even on occasions when he couldn’t always understand their “foreign language.”

But more than a personal fondness for the Land Down Under, Obama offered a glowing appraisal of the economic and military ties with Australia, which is the largest foreign investor in U.S. markets and whose troops have fought alongside U.S. soldiers in every major conflict of the past hundred years.  He reaffirmed the bilateral partnership, which he said he’s tried to deepen since taking office.

Laying out his vision for the future, Obama said the “new focus” of America would be on the Asia Pacific region, particularly as U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan winds down.

“With most of the world’s nuclear power and some half of humanity, Asia will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict or cooperation, needless suffering or human progress.  As president, I’ve therefore made a deliberate and strategic decision—as a Pacific nation, the United States will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future, by upholding core principles and in close partnership with our allies and friends.”

Obama stressed the U.S. would be making its military presence in the Asia Pacific a “top priority,” notwithstanding any potential cuts to defense spending that may come from ongoing budget debates.  

“Reductions in U.S. defense spending will not -- I repeat, will not -- come at the expense of the Asia Pacific,” he said.  On Tuesday, the administration announced that the U.S. was establishing a permanent military presence “down under” in part to boost ties with allies like Japan and South Korea while counterbalancing potential threats from North Korea and China.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio