November 17th, 2011
05:51 AM ET
Darwin, Australia (CNN)–President Obama, accompanied by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, spoke to troops at a military base in Darwin, Australia on Thursday. The President announced earlier this week an enhanced military partnership with close ally Australia. The United States will deploy up to 250 Marines to Australia next year, steadily increasing that number to 2500 in the coming years.
"[O]ur alliance is rooted in the bonds between our people, and the democratic values that we share and our commitment to stand with each other through thick and through thin, no matter what," the president told the crowd of 2000 on the remote base in northern Australia.
"This region has some of the busiest sea lanes in the world, which are critical to all our economies. And in times of crisis - from the Bali bombings to East Timor to relief after a tsunami - Darwin has been a hub, moving out aid, caring for victims, making sure that we do right by the people of this region. And that's what we're going to keep doing, together," said Mr. Obama.
The president heads to Bali, Indonesia, to meet with Asian world leaders in a region which has become a priority for the United States as it seeks to improve trade and create jobs at home, as well as strengthening alliances to serve as a counter balance to an increasing Chinese influence in the region.