6 years ago63 views
A contingent of 200 U.S. troops begin a deployment in Darwin, Australia - part of a growing U.S. military presence in the Asia Pacific.
The operation has sparked concern in China, where officials have questioned whether it's part of a U.S. strategy to thwart the country's rise as a global power.
The U.S. ambassador to Australia said the aim of the military presence is to maintain peace and prosperity in a changing region.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO AUSTRALIA JEFFREY BLEICH:
"This is the fastest growing economic area and also the one that is enduring the greatest demographic change, and we want to make sure that it continues to be a peaceful prosperous and stable area. The way that we accomplish this is by ensuring that trade routes are open and that we're prepared for any issue that could come up."
The tropical port of Darwin is around 800 kilometres from Indonesia, allowing the marines to respond quickly to any potential security issues in Southeast Asia.
The force is expected to grow over time to become a 2,500 strong Marine Air Ground Task Force, with different units moving through for short periods rather than being stationed permanently.
Simon Hanna, Reuters.