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With eye on China, Pentagon chief heads to Southeast Asia

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Reuters

By Idrees Ali FAIRBANKS, Alaska (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will become the first member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet to visit Southeast Asia this week, seeking to emphasize the importance Washington places on fortifying ties in the region while pushing back against China. The United States has put countering China at the heart of its national security policy for years and the Biden administration has called rivalry with Beijing “the biggest geopolitical test” of this century. Six months into his presidency, however, Southeast Asian countries are still looking for detai…

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