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'Pivot' to Asia is over: US State Department official

(CNTV)    16:38, March 15, 2017

The US "pivot to Asia" seems to be over. A top US State Department official said this week that President Donald Trump’s administration was still “formulating” its policy on the Asia-Pacific region, but hinted that a change was underway.

"On the issue of pivot, rebalance, etc… that was a word that was used to describe the Asia policy in the last administration,” ‍US Assistant Secretary of State Susan Thornton told a press briefing in Washington, according to media reports.

"I think you can probably expect that this administration will have its own formulation and… we haven’t seen in detail what the formulation will be or if there even will be a formulation", Thornton was quoted as saying by The Diplomat, a leading Asia-Pacific news magazine.

Her comments came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was due to start his first visit to the Asia-Pacific region on Wednesday, with stops scheduled in Japan, South Korea and China.

The "pivot” to Asia was introduced under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama and was meant to foster closer ties with the Asia-Pacific region.

Thornton however stressed that even if the style may change, the new government will maintain its commitment to the region.

"We’re going to remain active and engaged in Asia," Thornton, who was appointed under the Obama administration, was quoted as saying by The Diplomat.

"The Asian economy is very important for US prosperity and growth, so we’ll be there working on fair and free trade issues; working on regional security challenges, such as North Korea, and continue to press for a rules-based, constructive, peaceful, stable order in Asia."

"It's too early to talk about whether there will be a new slogan for the US Asia-Pacific policy," she added.

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