US foreign policy to refocus on Asia

The Obama administration is "rebalancing" U.S. foreign policy by enacting a "turn to Asia," a senior State Department official said Tuesday.

"As the long shadow of 9/11 recedes, we are witnessing the re-emergence of the Asia-Pacific as a key theater of global politics and economics," Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of State, told a House panel.

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"From the perspective of the United States, the region is a center of gravity for U.S. security and prosperity," Campbell told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "As Asia rises, so too must America's role in it."

Campbell said "free markets in Asia" provide Washington "unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade and access to cutting-edge technology." He also said the region is the "home to key drivers of the global economy."

All parts of the U.S. government "must step up our game in Asia," Campbell told the committee.

This shift in American foreign policy will take years to complete, the State Department official said.

As part of this rebalancing effort, the White House is moving U.S. military forces from the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific region.

"Much of the history of the 21st century will be written in the Asia-Pacific region," Campbell said.