Entries in Julia Gillard (4)


Details of US Military Presence in Australia Announced; China Responds

U.S. Marines/Cpl. Garry J. Welch(CANBERRA, Australia) -- President Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday announced that the U.S. military will begin a permanent presence Down Under -- part of a greater Obama administration strategy to contain the rise of China in the Pacific.

By mid-2012, a company-sized rotation of Marines, between 200-250, will be stationed at an Australian military base in the Northern territory.  That will ramp up to a full force of 2,500 Marine personnel, including sea, air, and ground task forces.

In addition, the U.S. Air Force will be able to use Australian Air Force facilities significantly more than it does now.

“This rotational deployment is significant because what it allows us to do, is to not only build capacity and cooperation between our two countries, but it also 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,” the president said at a joint press conference at the Australian Parliament.

Chinese government officials immediately expressed reservations about the new arrangement, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin telling reporters, “it may not be quite appropriate to intensify and expand military alliances and may not be in the interest of countries within this region.”

In response, Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said, “It is not just entirely appropriate but an important step to dealing with the challenges of the future of the Asian Pacific region.”  He said the U.S.-Australia military announcement came “in response to demand from within the region.”

President Obama was asked on Wednesday about the strategy of containing China by establishing stronger economic and diplomatic ties with countries in the region -- such as with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which excludes China -- as well as with Wednesday’s military announcement.

When asked what the U.S. fears from China, Obama said, "The notion that we fear China is mistaken.  The notion that we are looking to exclude China is mistaken.”

The president insisted that “we haven’t excluded China from the TPP.  What we have said is the future of this region depends on robust trade and commerce and the only way we’re going to grow that trade is if we have a high-standards trade agreement where everybody is playing by the same rules...China says we want to consult with you about being a part of this as well.  We welcome that.  It will require China to rethink some of its approaches to trade, just as every other country that’s been involved in the consultations for the TPP have had to think through what kinds of adjustments are we willing to make.”

Obama insisted, “We welcome a rising, peaceful, China.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Arrives in Australia: Third Time's a Charm

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(CANBERRA, Australia) -- When Air Force One touched down in Canberra, Australia Wednesday afternoon, President Obama at last made good on a promise to visit the “land down under” after twice delaying an official visit over the past year.

Obama came to Australia bearing a big gift: a new military agreement that will bring U.S. troops to the Australian continent as early as the middle of next year.

Before announcing the details of the plan, Obama was treated to a formal, official welcoming ceremony on the steps of the Australian Parliament, including a 21-cannon salute, a review of the 100-member honor guard of Australian troops and a playing of the U.S. national anthem -- twice.

Once Obama moved inside the Parliament building, he was greeted by screaming fifth and sixth grade students from the territories surrounding the capital.

“Thank you so much for your wonderful greeting,” reporters heard the president say to the kids.

“G’day … g’day mate.  I’m getting the hang of it,” he said.

Obama also signed Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s visitor’s book before meeting with her behind closed doors.

“To the People of Australia, with whom we have stood together for a century of progress and sacrifice.  On this 60th Anniversary of our Alliance, we resolve that our bonds will never be broken, and our friendship will last for all time,” the president wrote.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Marines to Have New Permanent Presence in Australia

Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg (SYDNEY) -- President Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday will announce that the U.S. military will begin a permanent presence Down Under -- part of a greater Obama administration strategy to contain the rise of China in the Pacific.

"The two leaders will be able to announce an increased security cooperation between the United States and Australia, including an increased U.S. presence in Australia," said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.

Rhodes wouldn't go into detail, but sources tell ABC News that the president is expected to announce a rotational deployment of U.S. Marines in Darwin, Australia, for training and to conduct exercises.

The U.S. military presence "will enable the United States to have greater geographic balance in the Asia Pacific region and will enable us to respond to a range of interests in the Pacific region as well," Rhodes said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


More Rain Headed to Flooded Australia as River Begins to Recede

Photo Courtesy - Torsten Blackwood /AFP/Getty Images(QUEENSLAND, Australia) -- The worst of the water woes appears to be over for Rockhampton, the biggest city caught up in the Queensland flood that stranded over 200,000 Australians.

Rain has returned to northeastern Australia, but Rockhampton Mayor Brad Carter isn't too worried on its effect.

"The rain that we're expecting over the next couple of days is not likely to have any effect on the flood levels that we're seeing that are coming from the river system," Carter said.

The Fitzroy River, which runs through Rockhampton, has peaked and it's now slowing starting to recede.

"It certainly takes, you know, a lot of the pressure off," Carter said in response.

The damage below the waterline won't be determined for some time.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says, "We're not going to know the true dimensions of the damage until floodwaters recede and can see what's happening with roads, what's happened with bridges, what's happened with vital infrastructure like schools.  But I can say that we will be working every step of the way with the Queensland government."

Clean-up efforts in the region are expected to take several months and the cost of damages are estimated to run in the billions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio