US Marines Arrive In Darwin
Darwin is welcoming the arrival of US marines in the area for their participation in combat marksmanship.
About 2,500 US marines are expected to stay at Kangaroo Flats in Darwin. They bring with them their artillery and aircraft and will train with the Norforce unit. They will also assist in disaster zones in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Marine Rotational Force, as it is called, should not be referred to as part of a US base. Lieutenant Colonel AnDroy Senegar said it is not an official base and that they will not build any infrastructure. He insisted that the US marines will be part of the community and won’t be intruding in anyone’s business.
Senegar clarified that there is no truth to rumors, saying that there’s more to the training partnership. He explained that the marines’ presence to reinvigorate their relationship with the Australian Defence Force.
The marines started arriving in early April. Federal Defence Minister Stephen Smith said that the marines will be on six-month rotations. He said that the world is moving to Asia-Pacific and that the region is growing its influence.
The move, however, has caused tension with China. The state-run news agency Global Times cautioned Australia, saying the US bases are present to harm China.
Senegar is quick to dispel fears, saying there’s no reason why China should be concerned. He said his troops’ mission is not combat-related and that they are training for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
He added that he is in negotiations to involve the marines and participate in outreach programs like providing assistance to indigenous communities.