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Closer US-Australia defence ties irk China

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Obama meets with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and announces a permanent military presence in Australia beginning next summer.

Communist Party paper attacks Obama’s plan to deploy up to 2,500 troops and boost air force co-operation with Canberra.

China has reacted angrily to remarks by Barack Obama signalling a significant shift in US policy vis-a-vis Asia.

The US president has pledged not to let his country’s budget crisis compromise its strategic vision and military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

His commitment came a day after the US said it would deploy up to 2,500 troops to northern Australia and strengthen air force co-operation, causing a strong reaction from China, whose rapid rise is reorienting Asia’s strategic balance.

In a message aimed both at a region he sees as vital to the US economic future and politicians at home, Obama told the Australian parliament in Canberra on Thursday the Asia-Pacific was too vital to fall prey to US penny-pinching.

“As the United States puts our fiscal house in order, we are reducing our spending,” Obama said, cautioning that reductions in funding for the US military machine were inevitable after years of huge spending in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Here is what this region must know. As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia-Pacific a top priority.

“As a result, reductions in US defence spending will not – I repeat, will not – come at the expense of the Asia-Pacific.”

The president arrived in Bali on Thursday night for an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Indonesia after travelling from Australia.

Chinese reaction

In his speech in Canberra, Obama surveyed US policy towards Asia, which has evolved in three years and three trips to the region that he has taken as president.

Al Jazeera’s Melissa Chan, reported from Beijing, said that the Chinese had reacted strongly to Obama’s visit.

“For the Chinese, the reaction is the sense that they’re being encircled,” she said, noting the existing US-Japan military relationship.

The People’s Daily, the Chinese newspaper that is the organ of the ruling Communist Party, was clear in its opposition to reinforced US-Australia security ties, she said.

“Australia surely cannot play China for a fool. It is impossible for China to remain detached no matter what Australia does to undermine its security,” the paper said.

Michael Raska, a defence analyst at the National University of Singapore, told Al Jazeera that China’s assertiveness is a reaction to the broader US strategy of re-engagement in the Asia-Pacific region.

“I’m not surprised that Beijing would be increasingly assertive. For over a decade, Beijing has been using its economic leverage to gain political advantage in the region,” he said.

The US is moving to strengthen ties with traditional allies, such as Australia, Japan and South Korea, as well as building powerhouses with emerging powers such India and Indonesia, in what is clearly a bid to preserve its ability to continue to be an actor in the region, Raska said.

“The bottom line is, in every major security issue in the Asia-Pacific region, China has a major imprint, and its military capabilities are increasingly upsetting US freedom in the region.”

During the speech, Obama addressed the sensitive issue of ties with China, pressed for more reform in Myanmar and said North Korea would pay a heavy price for the proliferation of nuclear or other materials to states or individuals.

“The US will continue our effort to build a co-operative relationship with China,” Obama said on a tour which has exposed divisions between Washington and Beijing.

“All of our nations have a profound interest in the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China – and that is why the US welcomes it.

“We will do this, even as we continue to speak candidly with Beijing about the importance of upholding international norms and respecting the universal human rights of the Chinese people.”

Crucial moment

Before his address to parliament, Obama laid a wreath at the Australian War Memorial

Next stop on Obama’s visit after Canberra was Darwin, where the US troops are to be deployed.

The city on Australia’s northern coast was the cradle of the Australian-US military alliance forged during World War II.

A Japanese raid on Darwin in 1942 killed at least 243 people, including some US soldiers.

He visited the memorial of the USS Peary, which honours the 89 men killed when the warship was bombed by the Japanese.

“We looked out at those beautiful blue waters where so many Australians and Americans rest where they fell together,” Obama said.

“The days after Darwin were tough, some thought Australia might fall, but we dusted ourselves off, we picked ourselves up, we rebuilt, and thanks to the extraordinary generation of troops, we went on to victory.”

Americans and Australians have fought together in every major US war since World War I, including in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama’s comments on funding represent a crucial moment in US policy towards a region beset by territorial disputes, containing trade routes vital to US prosperity, and which is transfixed by the rise of China.

He gave his commitment on the latest leg of a Pacific tour which is meant to underscore that the US will remain a crucial player in Asia-Pacific security.

“We will preserve our unique ability to project power and deter threats to peace,” Obama said.

“And we will constantly strengthen our capabilities to meet the needs of the 21st century. Our enduring interests in the region demand our enduring presence in this region.”

For his part, Obama believes that the Pacific Rim, worth trillions in dollars in trade to the US, is vital to the economic future of the US, and will produce jobs and prosperity for decades to come.


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  • JanB

    Obama and protection of human rights is the joke of the century: he couldn’t care less. One proof of that is the unconditional support for his best friends, the Saudi 1%:
    (well documented)

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  • Joe

    I believe that the economic future of the U.S. can be successful with out a military presence in Austrailia.Obama should deploy several thousand troops along the Mexican border.

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  • Jane plays with Willy

    Willy is happy again..

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  • Hans Blix

    We Jews want your Uranium and to kill you all.

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    • Joe

      Do you mean to say kill all Americans?

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  • the insurgent

    One business in Georgia is doing very publicly what many businesses are doing in secret. A recent news article reports “A west Georgia business owner is stirring up controversy with signs he posted on his company’s trucks, for all to see as the trucks roll up and down roads, highways and interstates: New Company Policy: We are not hiring until Obama is gone.”
    “’Can’t afford it,’ explained the employer, Bill Looman, Tuesday evening. ‘I’ve got people that I want to hire now, but I just can’t afford it. And I don’t foresee that I’ll be able to afford it unless some things change in D.C.’”
    Of course he can’t hire anyone or expand his business until he knows whether that business is going to exist in the future. Kenyabama might tax his business out of existence in order to pay for NObamacare or drive him out of business with new regulations.
    The article goes on “Looman’s company is U.S. Cranes, LLC. He said he put up the signs, and first posted pictures of the signs on his personal Facebook page, six months ago, and he said he received mostly positive reaction from people, ‘about 20-to-one positive.’ But for some reason, one of the photos went viral on the internet on Monday. And the reaction has been so intense, pro and con, he’s had to have his phones disconnected because of the non-stop calls, and he’s had to temporarily shut down his company’s website because of all the traffic crashing the system.”
    “Looman made it clear, talking with 11Alive’s Jon Shirek, that he is not refusing to hire to make some political point; it’s that he doesn’t believe he can hire anyone, because of the economy. And he blames the Dumbama administration. ‘The way the economy’s running, and the way my business has been hampered by the economy, and the policies of the people in power, I felt that it was necessary to voice my opinion, and predict that I wouldn’t be able to do any hiring,’ he said.”
    Mr. Looman is lucky he doesn’t live in Queerifornia. The crazy judeo-socialist California government passed a Global Warming Act, which has driven dozens if not hundreds of businesses out of the state. One article notes “Last year, the medical technology firm Numira Biosciences packed its bags and left Irvine for Salt Lake City. When asked about the firm’s departure, its chief executive praised Utah’s quality of life but also blamed California’s business environment for the move. ‘The tipping point was when someone from the Orange County tax [assessor] wanted to see our facility to tax every piece of equipment I had,’ Michael Beeuwsaert told the Orange County Register.” (Fucking mexican-cocksucker assholes), “they need the money to finance illegal aliens…”
    “For years, California could rely on its temperate climate and a talented workforce to attract and keep businesses even as taxes and regulations increased. No more. In surveys, executives regularly express the view that California has one of the country’s most toxic business environments, and they say it is one of the least likely places they would open or expand a company. Many firms headquartered here say they have forsaken expansion in the state. Meanwhile, Queerifornia suffers from an unemployment rate some 2 percentage points higher than that of the nation as a whole.”
    Another victim of California’s tax-hungry socialist government was the headquarters of Denny’s, the national restaurant chain, which started in California. The new headquarters is in South Carolina.

    California has an illegal alien population that costs it $13.1 billion per year. Once again the crazy socialist legislature won’t do the sane thing and deport all the illegal aliens. Instead, the costs of the illegals drive up taxes and fees for everything and the state has been running massive multi-billion dollar deficits, which suggest the state will inevitably go bankrupt.
    Mr. Looman’s anti-Obama sign is a great idea!!! We need to see these signs hanging on businesses throughout the country. Businesses should not meekly go to the grave as liberal taxation and policies drive them out of business. Get THE NIGGER out of his seat! They need to hang up signs spelling out why they aren’t hiring, and if NObama being in the White House is a reason, then the public should know. Kenyan dickhead, get out NOW!

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