Plans of U.S military presence in Australia announced

President Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia after a joint news conference in Canberra

President Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia after a joint news conference in Canberra

President Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia announced plans on Wednesday for the first sustained American military presence in Australia, a relatively small deployment that is still a major symbol of American intentions to use regional alliances to counterbalance a rising China.

With my visit to the region I am making it clear that the United States is stepping up its commitment to the entire Asia-Pacific region,” Mr. Obama said at a joint news conference with Ms. Gillard soon after his arrival here in Australia’s capital.

Mr. Obama said the basing agreement “allows us to meet the demands of a lot of partners in the region that want to feel that they’re getting the training, they’re getting the exercises, and that we have the presence that’s necessary to maintain the security architecture in the region.”

“But the second message I’m trying to send is that we are here to stay,” Mr. Obama said. “This is a region of huge strategic importance to us.” He added: “Even as we make a whole host of important fiscal decisions back home, this is right up there at the top of my priority list. And we’re going to make sure that we are able to fulfill our leadership role in the Asia Pacific region.”

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