WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2011 — National Security Advisor Tom Donilon discussed the administration’s “all-in” Asia strategy during a press conference in Indonesia today.
Donilon said the president’s weeklong engagements with Asian leaders culminating in the East Asia Summit “is the implementation of a substantial and important reorientation in American global strategy.”
The summit has occurred annually since 2005, with the United States and Russia participating for the first time this year along with Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam, India and China.
Donilon noted that from the president’s hosting of the 19th annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting in Honolulu through a trip to Canberra and Darwin in Australia and culminating with the summit in Bali, Obama worked this week with 25 nations “in the fastest-growing economic region in the world,” and attended formal bilateral meetings with 10 countries’ heads of state.
A White House fact sheet on the summit noted while the gathering’s traditional agenda includes regional concerns such as education, finance, energy and the environment, Obama called for discussions on security topics including maritime cooperation and nuclear nonproliferation. The president also pledged support to advance humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the region.
Donilon said the administration has worked for three years on a strategic rebalancing of what officials viewed as an “underweighted” U.S. involvement in Asia.
“We set about, through three lines of quite specific work, to address that underweighting,” he said.
Donilon outlined those approaches: strengthening alliances and security partnerships; engaging with emerging regional power centers such as China, India and Indonesia; and participating in and helping to form regional, multilateral economic, diplomatic and security institutions.
The president has given “clear guidance” that the United States will allocate the resources to maintain a strong security presence in Asia, Donilon said, in the midst of what he described as a $489 billion spending reduction over 10 years.
“With Asia, that means being all in, and doing the things that are required here with the resources that are necessary,” the national security advisor said.
“From our perspective, we’ve been able to positively advance each of the key goals that we had for the course of this trip,” he added. “And I think that’s been in the U.S. interest.”
Defense-related announcements during Obama’s Asia trip included an agreement with Australia to establish a rotational deployment of Marines to train with Australian military forces and a transfer and upgrade of 24 Excess Defense Article F-16s to the Indonesian air force.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)