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U.S. defense plan reinforces Asia-Pacific focus

(Xinhua)

13:57, January 06, 2012

U.S. President Obama speaks during a media briefing at Pentagon in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, Jan. 5, 2012. Barack Obama vowed to strengthen military presence in the Asia-Pacific region despite fiscal constraints. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)

NEW YORK, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama followed up the recent strong U.S. focus on the Asia Pacific on Thursday by unveiling a strategic defense guideline that vowed a stronger military presence in the region despite defense budget cuts.

"We'll be strengthening our presence in the Asia Pacific, and budget reductions will not come at the expense of this critical region," Obama said at the Pentagon.

In the document, "Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense," the United States pledges to continue to make the necessary investments to ensure it maintains "regional access and the ability to operate freely in keeping with our treaty obligations and with international law."

The new review resets U.S. defense priorities for the 600 billion U.S. dollars in baseline budget and war-fighting expenses the Pentagon receives every year and guides a 450 billion dollars defense budget cut over the next decade.

While the difficult economic situation in the world's No. 1 economy makes it impossible to maintain a large-scale ground force across different fronts in the world and has forced it to resort to a leaner, more flexible and agile military force, Obama pledged the defense budget would continue to be "larger than the next 10 countries combined" to keep America strong.

"Our relationships with Asian allies and key partners are critical to the future stability and growth of the region," according to the document.

While emphasizing its existing alliances in the Asia Pacific, the United States will also expand its networks of cooperation with "emerging partners throughout the Asia Pacific to ensure collective capability and capacity for securing common interests."

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