US budget cuts could hurt pivot to Asia

WASHINGTON (AP) - Stiff budget cuts that take effect Friday because of a political standoff over America's burgeoning debt could crimp US military activity in the Asia-Pacific, just as Washington seeks to reassure friends and allies of its staying power in the region.

The impact is unlikely to be sudden or stark. But it could mean fewer military exercises and operations by ships and aircraft in the region, even as the US winds down its war in Afghanistan.

The administration still says it is committed to its strategy of "rebalancing" toward Asia, widely seen as a response to a rising China.

The cuts are the result of a deadline set after earlier negotiations on trimming the debt by US$1.2 trillion (S$1.48 trillion) over a decade hit an impasse.