News / Asia

Obama Takes Momentum from Australia into East Asia Summit

U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the troops after speaking at the Royal Army Air Force Base in Darwin, Australia, November 17, 2011.
U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the troops after speaking at the Royal Army Air Force Base in Darwin, Australia, November 17, 2011.

In a speech to Australia's Parliament on Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama hailed the strength of the U.S. alliance with Australia, saying a new military cooperation agreement will help the United States play a larger security role in the Asia-Pacific.  President Obama also addressed Australian and U.S. troops in the northern city,  Darwin.

After his speech in Canberra - in which he said the U.S. and Australia have always stood together as allies and continue to do so today in places like Afghanistan - the president flew to Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory.

Darwin was heavily bombed by Japanese forces during World War II.  After laying a wreathe at a memorial to the crew of the USS Peary, a U.S. ship sunk in Darwin in 1942, he appeared with Prime Minister Julia Gillard in an aircraft hangar filled with about 1,600 cheering Australian soldiers and 55 U.S. Marines.

Obama says the agreement for enhanced U.S. access to Australian bases will help ensure security in the broader Pacific region.

"Here in Darwin and northern Australia, we will write the next proud chapter in our alliance," he said. "As the prime minister and I announced yesterday, some of our Marines will begin rotating through these parts to train and exercise with you and to work as partners across the region for the security we all want."

Under the new agreement, an initial group of 250 U.S. Marines will deploy and rotate in and out of bases in northern Australia, eventually expanding to a 2,500-strong Marine Air Ground Task Force, although the exact time line for this is uncertain.  There will also be a significant increase in the number of airfields used by U.S. military aircraft.  

U.S. Marine Brigadier General Ronald Baczkowski called the enhanced U.S. Marine deployments consistent with a "geographically distributed, operationally resilient force posture in the Pacific" and include combined arms training with Australian allies.

Speaking in Canberra earlier, Obama said tough budget decisions the United States must make to repair its fiscal situation, including cuts in defense spending, will not diminish the commitment to the Pacific.

"As we plan and budget for the future, we will allocate the resources necessary to maintain our strong military presence in this region," Obama said. "We will preserve our unique ability to project power and deter threats to peace.   We will keep our commitments, including our treaty obligations to allies like Australia."

Upgrading of the 60 year Australian-American alliance is seen in this region as a clear message from Washington to Beijing, amid concerns about possible conflict over the South China Sea.

White House Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes called the U.S.-Australian agreement "perfectly appropriate" and supported by other nations in the region.

"There is a demand signal from the nations of the region, and this is something that we're doing in concert with one of our closest allies," he said. "So we believe it's not just entirely appropriate, but an important step to dealing with the challenges of the future of the Asia Pacific region.

Rhodes said a "rising China" was one part of the context of Obama's remarks about the future of the region.  Asked if the U.S.-Australia agreement might lead to a permanent U.S. presence, he described it only as a "sustained" ongoing deployment.

Obama carries what can be seen as momentum from the U.S.-Australia announcement into discussions on security issues with leaders at the East Asia Summit in Bali.

He will have bilateral talks with leaders from treaty partners Thailand and the Philippines, along with host Indonesia, all the while reaffirming the messages he has sent so far on this trip about the U.S. commitment to stability.

He will also meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  In his speech in Canberra, he welcomed India's "look East" policy and New Delhi's efforts to play a larger role as an Asian power.  

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid