Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

First contingent of 200 US marines arrives in Darwin [BBC]


Australia’s great and powerful friends dilemma: Just a few months after the initial announcement on November 16, 2011 – the Marines have arrived in Darwin. For the first time ever, the US commits to a permanent rotation of its forces in Australia. A first contingent of 200 marines have arrived in Australia’s Northern Territories, a prelude to a full force of 2,500 troops (about the size of a US brigade).

An extension of their 61-yearold ANZUS alliance this move has irked the Chinese, who believe the Americans are encircling and containing it, adding to a substantial presence in the region with bases in Japan, Korea and Guam.

The complication? ‘Canberra and Washington have been long-time allies, but China is Australia’s biggest trading partner.’

– – –

First contingent of 200 US marines arrives in Darwin
Duncan Kennedy, BBC news Sydney
Source – BBC, published April 4, 2012

The first contingent of 200 United States marines has arrived in Darwin.

The troops are there on a six-month rotational basis and will take part in training exercises with the Australian Defence Force.

The two countries are boosting defence ties, with the US eventually deploying a 2,500-strong force in northern Australia by 2017.

The move has irked China but US and Australian leaders have stressed it is not an attempt to contain China.

Australia’s Defence Minister Stephen Smith welcomed the troops, and told ABC News that the mood in northern Australia was ”one of very strong enthusiasm”.

In a joint statement, Mr Smith, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson said the deployment was ”an evolution of existing exercises and activities” that the defence forces of both countries already engaged in.

This, they added, was the latest chapter in a 60-year security relationship with the US.

“There are no US military bases in Australia, and this will not change,” they said.

‘Long term’ prospects

Last week, Australia played down reports that it planned to allow a US air base on islands in the Indian Ocean.

A US newspaper reported the plans, saying this would be a strategic point to fly spy planes over the South China Sea.

The Washington Post report said that the two countries were planning ”a major expansion of military ties”, including plans for drone flights from the Cocos Islands – a pair of coral atolls in the Indian Ocean north-west of Australia.

However, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith described the plans as ”long-term” and ”down the track”.

The troop deployment in northern Australia was announced by Ms Gillard in November 2011 when US President Barack Obama visited the country.

It was seen as a move to counter China’s growing influence in the region and likely to bolster US allies in the South China Sea dispute.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping territorial claims in the area believed to contain rich reserves of oil and natural gas, as well as key shipping lanes.

Canberra and Washington have been long-time allies, but China is Australia’s biggest trading partner.

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Filed under: Australia, BBC, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Influence, International Relations, military, Peaceful Development, Politics, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, U.S.

One Response

  1. thelittlep says:

    Reblogged this on thelittlep.

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