US naval presence in Asia-Pacific remains 'absolute and unwavering' despite budget cuts

The United States' renewed naval presence in the Asia-Pacific region will be "absolute and unwavering" despite recent sweeping federal Budget cuts, said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus during an official visit to Singapore on Saturday.

Mr Mabus was visiting the littoral - close to shore - combat ship USS Freedom, docked at Changi Naval Base, ahead of the International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference (Imdex Asia) which begins on Tuesday.

He told reporters: "We may have to vary the scope of some things, but the essential commitment here will not change.

"This is our focus, this is where we're going to put the majority of our fleet."

Federal Budget cuts of US$85 billion (S$106 billion) took effect in the US on March 1, as part of an austere fiscal policy.

President Barack Obama's administration had announced in November 2011 that the US would "pivot" strategically to Asia, redeploying 60 per cent of its navy to the region by 2020, up from 50 per cent currently.

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