Countering China, Obama asserts US a Pacific power

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the U.S. will play a larger and long-term role in shaping the Asia-Pacific region. He vows to increase the United States' military presence in the region, a part of the world where China is by far the biggest and most powerful country.

Obama tells members of Australia's parliament that the United States is a Pacific power. "We are here to stay," he said Thursday.

Obama addressed the parliament a day after announcing a commitment to send military aircraft and up to 2,500 Marines to northern Australia.

He says a U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific region is a top priority of his administration and stresses that any reductions in U.S. defense spending will not come at the expense of that goal.