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Agenda Shifts To Economy For Se Asia Visit By Defense Chief

Had he flown to Southeast Asia a couple of months ago as planned, a highlight of Defense Secretary William Cohen’s tour would have been a visit with U.S. Air National Guardsmen fighting Indonesia’s forest fires.

By the time Cohen arrives in the region today, however, he is dropping in on disaster of a different sort: a currency and credit crisis with potentially grave implications for Asian security.

Cohen’s aides say his main aim is to reassure leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand that the U.S. government remains their partner - not only in the economic and political arenas but also as weapons supplier.


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