Wednesday, November 16, 2011

US to base Marines in Australia, rankling China

The United States will deploy up to 2,500 Marines to Australia as the nations expand their 60-year-old military alliance, President Barack Obama said Wednesday in a move that rankled China.

Stressing the rising economic influence of the Asia-Pacific, Obama told reporters in Canberra he was stepping up Washington's commitment to the region, undaunted by China, which he said America did not fear.

The deployment of US Marines to Australia's tropical north came as the allies adapted their military posture to face a new security era marked by the rise of China, which sparked an immediate negative response from Beijing.

The leaders also agreed to enhance cooperation between their air forces that will result in increased rotations of US aircraft through northern Australia, which is closer to Asia than it is to Sydney and Melbourne.