BEIJING, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- China's official Xinhua News Agency listed U.S. President Barack Obama's Asia-Pacific force rebalancing at the top of its 10 main world events in 2012.
The European debt crisis got the 10th place on Xinhua's "chronological order" list, with the headline saying the crisis "drags on global economic recovery."
In citing the U.S. policy shift, Xinhua said that on Jan. 5, 2012, Obama "unveiled a strategic defense guideline that vowed a stronger military presence in the Asia-Pacific region despite defense budget cuts." It went on to say in June, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that by 2020, the U.S. Navy would reposition its forces from a roughly 50-50 percent split between the Pacific and the Atlantic to about a 60-40 split.
The news agency also noted Obama's November visits to Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia, where he highlighted "Asia's growing importance to the U.S.'s global strategy."
The rebalancing, or the Asia-Pacific pivot, comes as the United States winds down war operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and at a time of China's growing military might and assertion of territorial claims in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.
U.S. Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, has said the policy underscores that the United States is, and will remain, a Pacific power, while stressing it is not aimed at any nation.
The Chinese official media in the past has bitterly attacked the policy.
Other stories on the Xinhua list included "Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood comes to power" (No. 2); "Religious issues trigger anti-U.S. wave" in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Benghazi, Libya (No. 3); "U.S. Mars Rover touches down on Red Planet (No. 4); "Russia becomes official member of WTO (No. 5); "Japan's 'Island purchase' challenges post-war international order" (No. 6); "Syria's anti-govt. revolt accelerates into armed conflict" (No. 7); "China's 18TH CPC national congress attracts world attention" (No. 8); and "Doha climate talks reach agreement on 2nd period of Kyoto Protocol" (No. 9).