World / US and Canada

Pentagon chief to visit Asia-Pacific

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-11-09 10:12

WASHINGTON - US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will embark on a three-country trip to the Asia-Pacific next week, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said Thursday.

Panetta's first stop will be Australia, where he will be joined by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey for the annual US-Australian Ministerial consultations, according to the official.

This year's meeting will "provide an opportunity to review the alliance's progress on the successful Marine Corps and Air Force deployments to Northern Australia and to discuss the next steps in this important cooperation", Little said.

Panetta will then travel to Thailand and Cambodia, he said, adding that Panetta will meet with defense chiefs from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at the Cambodian resort of in Siem-Reap.

Panetta's visit to the region, along with that of Clinton, reflects the commitment of the United States to the rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific, Little noted.

"We look forward to this opportunity to further advance our long-term strategy of rebalancing with the Asia-Pacific," Little said.

The White House has announced that President Barack Obama will visit Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia later this month.

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