Enhanced US role vital to Asia: Australia

A larger US military role in the Asia-Pacific region is vital to ensuring the region's stability and prosperity, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith said Saturday.

Smith also told delegates attending an Asian security conference that plans for an enhanced US presence, which includes a troop deployment in Australia's northern city of Darwin, would not spark an arms race in the region.

"Australia strongly supports not only the engagement of the United States in our part of the world but its enhanced engagement," Smith said at the Shangri-La Dialogue organised by the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

"These additional practical cooperation mechanisms in the North and in the West of Australia, in our view, will be an ongoing cause for peace and security in our part of the world because it will continue to ensure a United States presence," he added.

The US move to deploy up to 2,500 US Marines in Darwin, part of a wider plan by Washington to boost its presence in the strategically vital Asia-Pacific, has rankled China as well as some other states in the region.

"We don't in any way see this initiative causing either instability or in any way an arms race," Smith said.

"If there is an increase in arms and armament and capability in our part of the world, it is a direct result of our economies rising and any country is entitled, in our view, to increase its military capability as its economy grows," he said.

Some 200 US Marines arrived in Darwin in April as part of stepped up defence cooperation unveiled during an Australian visit by US President Barack Obama in November last year.

The Marines are in Australia on a six-month rotational basis and will be based at Robertson Barracks on the outskirts of the city, building up to some 2,500 by 2016-17.

Apart from the Marines, the US military only has a limited deployment in long-standing ally Australia, including the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility spy station near the desert town of Alice Springs.

But as part of the expansion of military ties, Australia has indicated it may also allow the United States to use its territory to operate long-range spy drones.

The drones could be flown from the Cocos Islands, atolls in the Indian Ocean off northwest Australia.

Smith also said Saturday that in the longer term, the United States will have greater access to naval bases in western Australia.

Australia's government is reportedly considering upgrading Perth's Stirling naval base to allow larger US warships to operate in Southeast Asia.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • PSE to sell Makati and Ortigas offices
    PSE to sell Makati and Ortigas offices

    Set to move to a unified headquarters in Bonifacio Global City in 2016, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has issued plans to sell their offices in Makati and Ortigas. PSE President Hans Sicat issued that PSE means to sell the offices, but that they may also opt to rent them out instead. …

  • ‘Inland areas could be exposed to tsunami-like waves’
    ‘Inland areas could be exposed to tsunami-like waves’

    While strong earthquakes cause tsunamis in coastal areas, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned that inland areas could also be exposed to tsunami-like waves, or seiche, if located near or around bodies of water. In a recent earthquake awareness seminar in Muntinlupa, Phivolcs supervising science research specialist Joan Salcedo explained that a seiche is a large wave similar to a tsunami, triggered by strong ground shaking from an earthquake or volcanic …

  • China gives ‘gentle reminder’ to Phl, warns small nations
    China gives ‘gentle reminder’ to Phl, warns small nations

    China gave the Philippines a “gentle reminder” last Tuesday that Beijing will not bully small countries but warned these nations not to make trouble willfully and endlessly. “Here is a gentle reminder to the Philippines: China will not bully small countries, meanwhile, small countries shall not make trouble willfully and endlessly. The Chinese Foreign Ministry also said that China would continue to build other civilian facilities on relevant maritime features in the disputed Spratly Islands …

  • Back-channel diplomacy pushed for Phl-China dispute
    Back-channel diplomacy pushed for Phl-China dispute

    The Philippines should consider backchannel diplomacy to prevent its territorial dispute with China from deteriorating further, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said yesterday. There are a lot of Filipino businessmen with businesses in China and they have friends and connections there. Let’s utilize that, ask them to talk to their friends on how we can resolve this matter peacefully,” Marcos said. …

  • Phl, Japan to deepen ties amid China sea claims
    Phl, Japan to deepen ties amid China sea claims

    Japan and the Philippines are set to bolster security ties when President Benigno Aquino visits Tokyo next week, the latest move by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to beef up cooperation with Southeast Asian nations facing China’s growing naval ambitions. The two sides will likely agree to start talks on a framework for the transfer of defense equipment and technology and to discuss a possible pact on the status of Japanese military personnel visiting the Philippines to facilitate joint training and …

  • Phl, Vietnam troops play soccer on disputed isle
    Phl, Vietnam troops play soccer on disputed isle

    Vietnamese and Philippine troops played soccer and sang karaoke on a South China Sea island yesterday in a sign of the growing security ties between the two Southeast Asian nations most at odds with Beijing over the contested waterway. Cooperation has blossomed between Hanoi and Manila since they shelved decades of enmity over their competing claims in the Spratly archipelago to try to counter China, whose creation of artificial islands in the region will allow it to project power deep into …

  • Noy swears in 50 newly appointed AFP officers
    Noy swears in 50 newly appointed AFP officers

    President Aquino administered yesterday the oath taking of 50 newly appointed generals and officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in a simple ceremony at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace. …

  • Taiwan’s peace call on claimants of disputed territories welcomed
    Taiwan’s peace call on claimants of disputed territories welcomed

    The US on Tuesday welcomed Taiwan’s call on all claimants to disputed shoals, reefs, rocks and islets in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea to exercise restraint, refrain from unilateral actions that could escalate tensions, as well as to respect international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. “With regard to the maritime claims and the claims to sovereignty over land features in the South China Sea, our position is that maritime claims must …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options