Posted by: mulrickillion | November 17, 2011

A Marine Base for Australia Irritates China

image

Soldiers watched President Obama speak to American Marines and Australian troops at the RAAF Base in Darwin, Australia on Thursday. Jason Reed/Reuters.

By Jackie Calmes, Nov 17, 2011 — DARWIN, Australia — Fresh from announcing an expanded American military presence in Australia, a plan that has angered China, President Obama came to this remote northern town that will be the base of operations and told American and Australian troops it is “the perfect place.”

“We are deepening our alliance and this is the perfect place to do it,” said Mr. Obama, speaking in a steamy air force hangar to about 2,000 people, mostly Australian troops in green camouflage uniforms but with 55 American Marines salted among them. “This region has some of the busiest sea lanes in the world.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama announced that the United States planned to deploy 2,500 Marines in Australia to shore up alliances in Asia, but the move prompted a sharp response from Beijing, which accused Mr. Obama of escalating military tensions in the region.

The agreement with Australia amounts to the first long-term expansion of the American military’s presence in the Pacific since the end of the Vietnam War. It comes despite budget cuts facing the Pentagon and an increasingly worried reaction from Chinese leaders, who have argued that the United States is seeking to encircle China militarily and economically.

“It may not be quite appropriate to intensify and expand military alliances and may not be in the interest of countries within this region,” Liu Weimin, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in response to the announcement by Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia.

In an address to the Australian Parliament on Thursday morning, Mr. Obama said he had “made a deliberate and strategic decision — as a Pacific nation, the United States will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future.”

The president said the moves were not intended to isolate China, but they were an unmistakable sign that the United States had grown warier of its intentions.

China has invested heavily in military modernization and has begun to deploy long-range aircraft and a more able deep-sea naval force, and it has asserted territorial claims to disputed islands that would give it broad sway over oil and gas rights in the East and South China Seas.

While the new military commitment is relatively modest, Mr. Obama has promoted it as the cornerstone of a strategy to confront more directly the challenge posed by China’s rapid advance as an economic and military power. He has also made some progress in creating a new Pacific free-trade zone that would give America’s free-market allies in the region some trading privileges that do not immediately extend to China. . . .

A Marine Base for Australia Irritates China – NYTimes.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: