US Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will be traveling once again to the Asia-Pacific to fortify relations with that region. This will be his fourth trip to the region and his third since June.
Panetta’s first stop will be Perth, Australia, where he will be joined by Secretary Clinton, Chairman Dempsey and Admiral Locklear for the annual U.S.-Australia Ministerial (AUSMIN).
This is Panetta’s first trip to Australia as Secretary of Defense, where he is expected to express his gratitude for Australia’s contribution to efforts in Afghanistan.
From Australia, Secretary Panetta will travel on to Thailand. This will be the first visit by a Secretary of Defense to Thailand since 2008.
“The important U.S.-Thailand alliance has served both our countries well for nearly 60 years, and our two governments are eager to establish a forward-looking strategic vision for this alliance that builds on our already-close cooperation,” said Press Secretary George Little
Little said he final stop will be Cambodia, where the secretary will join 10 of his Association for Southeast Asian Defense (ASEAN) counterparts at their annual retreat in Siem Reap. Secretary Panetta will emphasize the importance of ASEAN unity for regional stability and will communicate U.S. support for ASEAN-led defense cooperation.
“The secretary’s visit to the region, along with that of Secretary Clinton, reflect the commitment of the United States to the Asia-Pacific rebalance,” Little said. “Secretary Panetta has made this one of his highest priorities because he believes that it is the right strategy for the future security and prosperity of the United States and the Asia-Pacific region.”