News / Asia

US, Australia Announce Expanded Military Cooperation

US President Barack Obama listens to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard during a joint press conference in Canberra, Australia, November 16, 2011.
US President Barack Obama listens to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard during a joint press conference in Canberra, Australia, November 16, 2011.

The United States and Australia have announced expanded military cooperation aimed at bolstering security in the Asia-Pacific region. President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the agreement after his arrival for a one-day visit.

Air Force One touched down after the 10-hour flight from Honolulu, where Obama hosted the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit, focusing on expanding regional free trade.

A full ceremonial welcome followed at Parliament House, complete with national anthems and a 21-gun salute.

Standing with President Obama, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced an "enhancement" of the 60 year ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, U.S.) Treaty, in which as many as 2,500 U.S. Marines will rotate through bases in the north.

“We are a region that is growing economically, but stability is important for economic growth too, and our alliance has been a bedrock for stability in our region.  So building on our alliance through this new initiative is about stability,” Gillard said.

The "force posture initiatives", as a White House statement describes them, will begin in mid-2012 with 250 U.S. Marines deployed and conducting exercises and training in Darwin and bases in Northern Australia.  This would expand to a 2,500-person Marine Air Ground Task Force.

There would also be closer cooperation between the two countries' air forces, involving what White House officials called "a significant increase" in rotations of U.S. aircraft through northern Australia and prepositioning of equipment and supplies.

Both leaders fielded reporter's questions about the extent to which the agreement is designed as part of the response to rising capabilities of China in the Asia-Pacific region.

President Obama put his answer in the context of what he calls the overall message for China, about being a world power in an economically important region.

"With their rise comes increased responsibilities," said the president.  "It is important for them to play by the rules of the road and, in fact, help underwrite the rules that have allowed so much remarkable econ progress to be made over the last several decades.  And, that is going to be true on a whole host of issues."

US South Pacific Military Buildup

President Obama, Prime Minister Gillard, and U.S. officials say a major objective of the agreement is also to increase the ability of the United States to quickly assist countries in East and Southeast Asia, and train and exercise with them, in such areas as anti-piracy and disaster response.

The president says the U.S. message to the entire region is "we are here to stay." A White House official says the United States is maintaining its security capabilities and alliances in Northeast Asia while enhancing them in Southeast Asia.  

Obama's speech to Australia's Parliament on Thursday is expected to communicate a broad U.S. economic and security vision for the Asia-Pacific region, emphasizing the importance of stability and the region's potential.

A White House official says he will also address questions and concerns in the region about tough budget choices Washington needs to make and whether these will make it hard to maintain or increase the U.S. security presence.

In the northern city, Darwin, Thursday, Obama will speak directly to Australian soldiers and U.S. Marines at a Royal Australian Air Force Base.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs