US to increase military presence in Australia, invites Japan

TEHRAN, Dec. 07 (MNA) – The US will increase its military footprint in Australia and has agreed with Canberra to invite Japan to take part in the effort, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Tuesday amid increasingly shared concerns about China. 

Speaking alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken as they hosted their Australian counterparts at the State Department, Austin said the increased air, land and sea troop rotations will include bomber task forces, fighter jets and additional rotations of Navy and Army capabilities to expand logistics and other cooperation with Australia.

"That will deepen our interoperability and create more agile and resilient capabilities. We'll also continue to find ways to further integrate our defense industrial bases in the years ahead," Austin told reporters.

Exact details on the increased US troop presence, including its size and when it will commence, have yet to be finalized and will be announced at a later date.

Japan, Austin said, has been invited to "integrate into our force posture initiatives in Australia." He did not elaborate.

The United States is planning to deploy up to six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to an air base in northern Australia amid heightened tensions with China.

Thousands of US Marines rotate through Australia's Northern Territory annually for training and joint military exercises.

The US sees Australia as a vital partner in its efforts to push back against China in the Indo-Pacific as analysts say Canberra could have a crucial logistical role to play in the defense of Taiwan against any move by Beijing to reclaim the strategic island.

Last year, the United States, Britain and Australia created a so-called security deal, known as AUKUS, that will provide Australia with the technology to deploy nuclear-powered submarines. The deal has riled China, with Beijing making a diplomatic push to criticize and "subvert" AUKUS.

Canberra has said the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that Australia is a party to does not prohibit nuclear propulsion.

China is Australia's largest trading partner, but Canberra has grown concerned about “Beijing's military ambitions” in the South Pacific after it struck a security pact with the Solomon Islands this year.


News Code 194648


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