Secretary of Defense Ash Carter says the Obama administration is opening a new phase of its strategic shift toward the Asia-Pacific region.

Carter said Monday the administration is investing in high-end weapons such as a new long-range stealth bomber, refreshing its defense alliance with Japan and expanding trade partnerships.

Carter made the remarks in a speech at Arizona State University en route to his first trip to Asia as defense secretary. He will be visiting Japan and South Korea this week.

He called Asia "the defining region" for America's future.

Carter also urged Congress to give President Barack Obama authority to complete a free trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.