News / USA

Obama's Australia Visit Focuses on Regional Security

U.S. President Barack Obama dons his jacket before boarding Air Force One at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu November 15, 2011
U.S. President Barack Obama dons his jacket before boarding Air Force One at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu November 15, 2011

President Barack Obama is continuing his Asia-Pacific trip by heading to Australia for a one day state visit with one of America's five security treaty allies in the region. Although brief, Mr. Obama's visit is expected to reaffirm strong historical, political and security ties between the United States and Australia.

Mr. Obama arrives in Australia after twice postponing his visit last year due to political and other domestic issues he faced at home.

He and Prime Minister Julia Gillard have forged what White Houses officials call an extremely warm relationship, and they have two "firsts" in common. She is the first woman to head an Australian government. Mr. Obama is the first African American president of the United States.

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the Oval Office of the White House, March 7, 2011
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the Oval Office of the White House, March 7, 2011

When Ms. Gillard visited the White House in March, she tossed an Australian football with Mr. Obama in the Oval Office, and visited a local school. While in Canberra, Mr. Obama is expected to visit schoolchildren after he addresses Australia's Parliament.

In a news briefing in Hawaii before Mr. Obama left for Canberra, White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the visit is intended to stress America's strong economic and security relationship with Australia.

"There are important economic implications in terms of the relationship that we have and the commerce that is facilitated between our two countries,"saiad Earnest. "But he will also talk about the important strategic relationship in terms of the security cooperation that we have between the United States and Australia."

The visit will also mark the 60th anniversary of the ANZUS security treaty, signed in 1951, which also includes New Zealand. Mr. Obama will lay wreathes at two Australian war memorials.

On Thursday, in the northern city of Darwin, scene of a major Japanese bombing raid during World War Two, the president will visit a Royal Australian Air Force base and address Australian troops and U.S. Marines.

In remarks to reporters in Hawaii, U.S. Pacific Commander Admiral Robert Willard called Australia a strong ally that is found alongside U.S. forces wherever they operate in the world.

"We have a very, very tight, close relationship with our Australian friends; we train in Australia on a fairly routine basis," said Admiral Willard. "There is a large scale combined armed exercise that we conduct annually. And the Australians are a very generous military insofar as access to their bases and to their training facilities."

In the background are regional security issues, including increased assertiveness by China, including in the South China Sea far north of Australia, where East Asian nations have rival claims.

U.S. officials declined to discuss details of an expected U.S.-Australia agreement ahead of President Obama's visit. But Australian media reports say it will involve increased U.S. access to ports and training facilities, and prepositioning of equipment.

Asked whether the agreement would serve as a "counterweight" in the region to China, Admiral Willard said it would contribute to relieving some of the pressure of maintaining an effective and sustained forward-deployed U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

China has also grown to be Australia's leading trading partner - the United States is third after Japan. China has sharply increased iron ore and uranium imports from Australia.

Australia is part of President Obama's overall focus on doubling exports and competing more aggressively in the Asia-Pacific region to help create jobs in the United States.

Australia is one of nine countries in a new Trans-Pacific Partnership the United States is promoting as a model for trade, which China has criticized as protectionist and contrary to the spirit of the World Trade Organization.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid