WASHINGTON - The United States has announced a major increase in US funding for military education and training programmes in Southeast Asia.
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel made the announcement during a speech at the Malaysian Institute of Defence and Security in Kuala Lumpur. He said the latest Pentagon budget includes $90 million for the programmes, an increase of more than 50 per cent compared to four years ago.
The decision comes as Washington is shifting its strategic focus increasingly toward the Asia-Pacific region. Hagel said the US administration is seeking to "rebalance" diplomatic, economic and security engagements with the Asia Pacific "to reflect Southeast Asia's emerging prominence and importance."
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