US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Tuesday against budget cuts that could force an abrupt pullout of the US security presence in the Pacific at a time when China's power is rising.
The debate over reducing the US debt "does cast a pall over our ability to project the kind of security interests that are in America's interests," Clinton told officers at the National Defense University.
"We need to have a responsible conversation about how we are going to prepare ourselves for the future and there are a lot of issues that are not in the headlines but are in the trendlines," she said.
"We are asserting our presence in the Pacific. We are a Pacific power. That means all elements of our national security team have to be present," the chief US diplomat said in a conversation with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.