U.S. military footprint to grow in Australia
November 16th, 2011
04:49 AM ET

U.S. military footprint to grow in Australia

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (CNN) - The U.S. military presence will soon be expanding in Australia as part of a new joint strategic partnership.

Under the agreement announced during a joint news conference with President Obama and Prime Minister Gillard, 200 to 250 U-S Marines will be sent sometime in mid 2012 to Darwin and the northern region of Australia, in six month rotations.

They will conduct exercises and training.

Over the next several years the numbers are expected to climb to 2,500, comprising a Marine Ground Task Force.

China's looming military presence in the region is part of the reason for this stepped up U.S. activity, said Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications.

But at the news conference, President Obama insisted fear wasn't driving the enhanced military initiatives.

"The notion that we fear China is mistaken," Mr. Obama said.

Shortly after the announcement was made at the Australian parliament building, AFP reported the Chinese were skeptical of the deal and said it "may not be quite appropriate."

Asked to respond to China's apparent push-back, Rhodes told CNN, "It is not just entirely appropriate but an important step to dealing with the challenges of the future of the Asian Pacific region."

Topics: President Obama • The News

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Andy

    Good idea the marines will spend there tax payer dollars in Australia really helping our economy and China is pressured even more by us, the people who are taking our worthless money.

    November 16, 2011 at 6:11 am |
  2. Andy

    Good idea the marines will spend there tax payer dollars in Australia really helping our economy and China is pressured even more by us, the people who are taking our worthless money. nice

    November 16, 2011 at 6:11 am |
  3. Liz Carter in Georgia

    I've noticed on many occasions, there are some, even in the OBAMA administration who're always trying to jump ahead of EVERYBODY ELSE to be the FIRST ones to announce to ANY media the reasons why this THIS President and his advisors put one foot before the other! Even before OBAMA can tell us the whys, whens and wheres, they've already jumped the gun, causing him have to walk the 'inappropriate' mis-info back! 'Chinas' looming military presence...'? Instigation? We SURE DON'T want to have to fight China!

    November 16, 2011 at 6:19 am |
  4. Josh in NC

    There is no reason to have more troops in more countries. How about we fix the massive problems at home first before we continue to try and secure our global empire. Didn't we learn anything from the Romans?

    November 16, 2011 at 8:06 am |
  5. jean2009

    I do know if we can get the right-wingers head out of the sand (which is not my exact thoughts about where they have their heads) we will have a chance in the 21st Century, otherwise we are going to be forever playing catchup with China. Our coming issues globally are going to be because our internal infrastructure and the ability to be clean energy self-sustaining are not putting us on a level footing with China to compete for markets.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • steveo

      Now, now Jean2009!

      Don't make it sound like all Dems are in lockstep with this administration, secondly don't forget AMERICAN companies are rushing into China, to include GE, which just happens to be CEO'd by the JOB CZAR! I submit, China is not playing fairly and I will also submit, the government (taxes and regulations) has us on unequal footing with the rest of the world and guess what? This did not just happen under Obama, I am fully aware!

      November 16, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  6. Ashby

    Why doesn't the question even come up whether this is in our national interest? Can Australia not defend herself? Why are my tax dollars...correction, why are our future generations' tax dollars going to defend a region that is perfectly capable of defending themselves?
    We need to take a step back and ask if we really want to police the world. Why borrow money from China to defend Australia? This is mad!

    November 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • jean2009

      Our sending 250 troops with eventually up to a total of 2500 troops is more symbolic than it is a force large enough to protect the Australian continent. It is more a statement of the strong bond and commitment of our two countries; and it is a way to increase business and commerce between both countries. China's economic policy of monetary protectionism is harmful to both our countries. Also, this indicates both countries plan to keep the south china sea open for shipping...that is vital. Southeast Asia makes up over half the world's trade, including some very large oil reserves.

      This move on the part of Australia is saying to China, without putting it in so many words, that Australia is in our corner. This might not be advantageous for Australian/Chinese trade, and will make their dealings with China somewhat more difficult, but it is a strong signal to the world about where they stand.

      November 21, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  7. DBerry

    Seriously? We are opening more bases? 2500 ground troops to deal with the looming presence of China. Is this guy serious. Are these the same troops we are bringing home? Give me a break.
    Please vote RON PAUL. We need some logic and reality checks in DC.

    November 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  8. Eduardo

    We have a war being waged by drug cartels, invading our southern border – Thousands of people have been killed and we're sending troops to Australia? Wow!

    November 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  9. jeff

    Wow, big surprise! More troops in yet another country meanwhile we can't pay our bills, educate our children or feed our poor. When will America wake up and realize that we are betraying the founders of our country and our people by building an empire. America, please wake up and learn about Ron Paul. He is the honest one of the bunch and will improve our standing in the world through peace and prosperity. Ron Paul 2012.

    November 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  10. Liz Carter in Georgia

    C-Lo; You are right on! 'OUR' government has us under unequal footing with the rest of the worldl' (and guess what?!?) We don't have to 'guess what'! You're right again...'This did not just happen under Obama'. I certainly do agree 100% with you on that part of your comment! As I said earlier...we SURE don't ever want to have to fight China! It's not just about the taxes and regulations, we know, militarily, there's multi-millions of them and they DO fight to the finish! Plus, we owe them TOO much money!!

    November 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  11. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Oooops...Sorry C-Lo! My response should have been to Steveo. Hey Steveo...'Here's looking at you kid'. LOL!

    November 17, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Steveo

      No problem Liz,

      I knew who you where REALLY addressing! Llooking back at you, Sis!

      November 17, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Steveo

      No problem Liz,

      I knew who you where REALLY addressing! Looking back at you, Sis!

      November 17, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  12. jean2009

    I would suggest reading....Obama Says U.S.Troops Will Preserve Peace, Security in Asia at: http://www.bloomberg.com/new/2011-11-17. I think the article sums up the reasoning. I admire our President's pluck....I think he just gave China half a peace sign.

    November 21, 2011 at 10:39 am |