Nov 17 - U.S. President Barack Obama says U.S. military will expand its role in the Asia-Pacific during his address at the Australian parliament. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Thursday (November 17) that the U.S. military would expand its role in the Asia-Pacific, despite budget cuts, declaring America was "here to stay" as a Pacific power to help shape the region's future. "As we end today's wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority. As a result, reductions in U.S. defence spending will not, I repeat, will not come at the expense of the Asia Pacific," he said. The U.S. military, turning its focus away from Iraq and Afghanistan, would be more broadly distributed in Asia, particularly Southeast Asia, more flexible and would help build regional capacity, Obama told the Australian parliament. "The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay. Indeed, we are already modernising America's defence posture across the Asia Pacific. It will be more broadly distributed, maintaining our strong presence in Japan and the Korean peninsula, while enhancing our presence in South-East Asia," he said. The winding down of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has opened the door to greater U.S. attention to simmering tension over the South China Sea, a shipping lane for more than $5 trillion in annual trade that the United States wants to keep open.