Honolulu: Defence Secretary
Robert Gates has said the US military will preserve its
presence in the Pacific despite possible Pentagon budget cuts.
Gates, speaking during a stop in Hawaii, said he
planned to tell a security conference in Singapore this week
that budget pressures would not alter Washington`s role in
"The critical message is that even as we look at
potential budget reductions, there is no slackening of the US
commitment to our presence in Asia," Gates told reporters near
the Pearl Harbor memorial.
"We are a Pacific nation, we will remain a Pacific
nation, we will remain engaged," he said. "And we will
continue to build relationships with friends, partners and
allies in Asia."
During his one day visit to Honolulu, Gates toured the
battleship USS Missouri, which served as the site of the
Japanese surrender that ended World War II on September 2,
At this week`s Singapore defence summit organised by
the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Gates will
seek to reassure Asian allies who are anxious that Washington
will pull back from the region just as China`s military adopts
an increasingly assertive posture, defence officials said.
Gates departs today for Singapore and will hold a
series of meetings Friday with his regional counterparts --
including from China and Japan -- before delivering a speech
to the conference on Saturday.