US not to sideline strategy of rebalance in Asia- Obama

Kualkuala Lumpur,Though busy handling hot spots like Ukraine and the Middle East, the US has not "sidelined" its strategy of rebalance in the Asia-Pacific, President Barack Obama today assured jittery Asian leaders amid muscle flexing by an increasingly assertiveChina. 

"Though we've been busy at home, the crisis still confronts us in other parts of the world from the Middle East to Ukraine. But I want to be very clear. Let me be clear about this, because some people have wondered whether because of what happens in Ukraine or what happens in the Middle East, whether this will sideline our strategy -- it has not. 

"We are focused and we're going to follow through on our interest in promoting a strong US-Asia relationship," Obama said at a town hall meeting with young leaders from Southeast Asia in 
Malaysia. 

Obama's visit to the region is a personal manifestation of the foreign policy "pivot" to Asia his administration enunciated two years ago but has struggled to translate in concrete terms. 

Obama, whose three-day visit to the South East Asian country comes in nearly five decades by a US President, noted that America has responsibilities all around the world, and said: "We're glad to embrace those responsibilities." 

"And, yes, sometimes we have a political system of our own and it can be easy to lose sight of the long view. But we have been moving forward on our rebalance to this part of the world by opening ties of commerce and negotiating our most ambitious trade agreement; by increasing our defense and educational exchange cooperation, and modernising our alliances... Building deeper partnerships with emerging powers like Indonesia and Vietnam. 

He noted that the 10 nations that make up ASEAN are home to nearly one in 10 of the world's citizens. 

"And when you put those countries together, you're the seventh largest economy in the world, the fourth largest market for American exports, the number-one destination for American investment in Asia," Obama said. 
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