Sunday, August 21, 2011

[pima.nius] CLINTON: BUDGET CUTS THREATEN U.S. PACIFIC PRESENCE

11:31 AM |

CLINTON: BUDGET CUTS THREATEN U.S. PACIFIC PRESENCE
'All elements of national security must be present'

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacbeat/

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Aug. 16, 2011) – Budget cuts in the United States could force an abrupt pullout of the US security presence in the Pacific at a time when China's power is rising, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Congress passed legislation approving US$2.1 trillion in cuts to government spending over 10 years.

The first round of cuts will reduce military spending by US$350 billion.

Mrs Clinton said the debate over reducing US debt casts a cloud over the direction of the nation's security policy.

"We are asserting our presence in the Pacific. We are a Pacific power. That means all elements of our national security team have to be present," she said.

Mrs Clinton said the US should not abruptly withdraw from the Pacific when it faced long-term challenges about coping with the rise of China.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard recently acknowledged that political power is changing in the Pacific.

"US global leadership and its influence rapidly changing in Asia Pacific depends on continued economic strength," she said in a speech to the Australia American Leadership Dialogue. "Ultimately it is economic power that underpins strategic power."

Professor Biman Prasad, from the University of the South Pacific, told Pacific Beat the United States' economic problems may influence its engagement in the Pacific.

"The US, perhaps, may not have the same kind of attention it probably should or could have in the Pacific because of that," he said.

Professor Prasad said while there was clear evidence of China's rising influence in the region, historic and cultural ties to the US, Australia and New Zealand would endure.

"More recently with the political situation in Fiji, there has been a need to look at the whole issue of democracy and human rights, and the economics of the region," he said.

"It might call for the US to look at policy and the politics in the region."

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra
Copyright © 2011 Radio Australia. All Rights Reserved


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pacific islands media association
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aotearoa, new zealand
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