US to increase Asia foothold
President Barack Obama announced on today during a speech to the Australian Parliament that budget cuts would not thwart plans for a broader US military role in Asia. He told listeners "reductions in US defence spending will not - I repeat, will not - come at the expense of the Asia Pacific," and assured that the US was "here to stay" as a Pacific power. This news comes amid concern over China’s growing influence in the region and requests from Japan and South Korea to the US to provide a sufficient counterweight. Washington plans to place up to 2,500 US Marines in a base in northern Australia starting early next year. The US also intends to bring ships, aircrafts and vehicles, as well providing increased military training. On the notion of China, Obama added that the perception “we are looking to exclude China is mistaken…We welcome a rising, peaceful China." China responded questioning whether strengthening the trans-pacific military alliances would benefit the region when economic constraints place a premium on cooperation.