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Pentagon chief focuses on China despite Mideast tensions

By The News · 01 of June 2019 10:38:31
AP Photo, Patrick Shanahan, No available, FILE - In this March 20, 2019 file photo, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan speaks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Shanahan is set to deliver the commencement address to the 2019 graduating class of the U.S. Naval Academy. The former Boeing executive will speak Friday, May 24, 2019, at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Tensions may be high in the Middle East, but the man chosen by President Donald Trump to run the Pentagon is turning his focus to China.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has arrived in Asia on a high-profile weeklong trip that is intended to reinforce that China is the administration’s main foreign policy priority.

The trip comes as the U.S. deploys thousands of more troops and military assets to counter Iran in the Middle East, and will test the Pentagon nominee ahead of his expected Senate confirmation hearing.

Shanahan told reporters traveling with him Wednesday that his “top priority” is implementing a national defense strategy that focuses on China’s rising military capability.

Trump is expected to formally submit Shanahan’s nomination to Capitol Hill in the coming days.