U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that the Pentagon will place 2,500 troops in Australia to help fulfill the U.S.’s “leadership role” in the region, the Financial Times reports. Analysts depicted the move as an attempt by Washington to build up its presence in the Pacific amidst concern over China’s increasingly aggressive behavior in the oil-rich and strategically important South China Sea. Also on Wednesday, State Department Hillary Clinton promised to boost military support to the Philippines during an official visit to Manila. This comes as China started referring to territorial claims in the South China Sea as a “core” national interest, the same term it uses when referring to Tibet and Taiwan.
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