Gates to reassure Asian allies on U.S. military ties.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to reassure anxious allies in…

Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to reassure anxious allies in Asia this week that the US military will maintain a strong presence in the region despite budget pressures at home, officials said.
The Pentagon chief will address the allies’ concerns “head on” at a security conference this week in Singapore, said a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

As Washington moves to tackle a ballooning deficit and debt, Asian allies fear a scaling back of the US military’s role just as China’s armed forces take a more assertive stance, defense officials said.
“There’s no doubt that the region has that concern, and I think it’s one that we’re well aware of, and hence it’s one the secretary will want to address,” the official told reporters.

Gates, who departs Tuesday on his global tour, will seek “to assure the region that we will maintain our commitments in the region and that we have both the capability in addition to the will to do so,” the official said.

Source: Dan De Luce for AFP.

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