Thursday, Barack Obama is flying to the city of Darwin where he is expected to announce plans for thousands of US maritime forces to train and do more joint exercises with the Australian military on the country's northern coast. That agreement will not include any permanent US basing, but an Obama administration official told the Reuters news agency it was a stepping stone to a more stable presence in Australia, which offers closer access to the South China Sea than US bases in Japan and South Korea.
The visit is being seen as a push by Washington to stand up for its interests and allies in the Asia-Pacific region as a counterbalance to China. Al Jazeera's Andrerw Thomas reporting from Canberra said: "Washington increasingly sees Australia as a strategic ally, economically and militarily."
This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Al Jazeera English.
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