Cuts could endanger US 'rebalancing' toward Asia

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Associated Press

Posted on March 1, 2013 at 5:38 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 1 at 6:30 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stiff budget cuts set to take effect Friday could crimp U.S. military activity in the Asia-Pacific region. This comes just as Washington seeks to reassure friends and allies of its staying power in the region.

The impact is unlikely to be sudden. There won't be a dramatic withdrawal of U.S. forces from bases in South Korea and Japan. But it could mean fewer military exercises and operations by ships and aircraft in the region.

While the administration says it is committed to its strategy of "rebalancing" toward Asia, a sense of foreboding pervades U.S. policymakers due to uncertainty over how the 9 percent cut in the defense budget will affect America's standing as a Pacific power.

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