No guarantee Trump trade war deal won't hurt Australian exporters: US envoy

While South Korea and the US have signed a new deal to increase Seoul's contribution to the cost of deploying US troops, addressing one of Mr Trump's frequent criticisms that allies were freeloading off the back of the US military machine, Mr Culvahouse indicated it was unlikely similar demands would be made of Australia on the deployment of 2500 Marines in Darwin.

New US ambassador to Australia Arthur B. Culvahouse has also criticised China's "pay day loans" to impoverished Pacific nations as he arrives in Canberra.

gimme loans over bombs any day.

Pine Gap’s role in tackling terrorism

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne has delivered a stunning statement about Australia’s secretive military intelligence facility in Alice Springs that contains veiled warnings for the nation’s allies and “potential adversaries” alike.

It comes in the same week Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed foreign spies had launched a “sophisticated” cyber attack on Parliament House’s computer network and the nation’s three major political parties on February 7 and 8.

China is the key suspect, according to cyber and strategic policy expects, but authorities say they have yet to determine which country is actually behind the attack.

Today, Mr Pyne made a rare public statement about Pine Gap, a defence intelligence facility in the Northern Territory which Australia operates jointly with the US.

In his speech, Mr Pyne declared America to be Australia’s “most important ally” and notes “potential adversaries” should understand an attack on Australia is an attack on its alliance with the US.

Nobody has spoke to us - Manus governor

Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin slams Australia over plans to redevelop a joint naval base on the Pacific island, saying he's never been consulted on the plan that the United States is also backing.

Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin told the ABC's Pacific Beat program that the deal to redevelop the Lombrum naval base was unnecessary and that he does not believe the base serves the interests of locals.

"To be honest PNG is not at war and we do not need any help right now, simply by coming to Lombrum is accommodating the interests of Australia and America," Mr Benjamin told Pacific Beat.

His comments echo those of others from Manus who are critical of the deal, including former MP Ronnie Knight, who told Pacific Beat earlier this month the plan was "bulldozed through" without local consultation.

During the APEC summit US Vice-President Mike Pence said the US would also be involved in the project, with PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill thanking the US for their support.

the Opposition is already considering pursuing legal avenues against the plan, due to the lack of government consultation with the local community.

APEC Navy Base United States MAnus | ten daily

The United States has stunned many in the Pacific, announcing it will partner with Australia in developing a joint naval base in Papua New Guinea.
The revelation was delivered during a stinging speech by American Vice President, MIke Pence at the APEC Summit, warning pacific nations not to accept over-burdensome loans from China -- loans often sneeringly referred to as 'debt diplomacy.'

"Today it's my privilege to announce that the United States will partner with PNG and Australian on their joint initiative on their base on Manus Island," he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier foreshadowed the announcement in an earlier speech, "Australia is stepping up. We will step up. [We are] stepping up to a whole new level."

China would see this as an affront to their strategic ambitions in the Pacific region.

Head of US marine force in Darwin stood down for drink-driving on nightclub strip

US Colonel James Schnelle is stood down from his job of commanding the largest contingent of Marines ever to rotate through the Top End after being caught drink-driving, a Darwin court hears.

Colonel James Schnelle, 48, appeared in Darwin Local Court this morning, charged with medium-range drink-driving.

The court heard he failed a random breath test on Darwin's Mitchell Street in the early hours of a Sunday morning late last month.

No conviction was recorded, but the court heard Colonel Schnelle had been stood down from his job of commanding the largest contingent of Marines ever to rotate through the Top End.

Colonel Schnelle is the highest ranking US Marine in Darwin, and is a decorated commander with three service awards.

"This is a man of very high character, he has no convictions anywhere in the world and has contributed immensely to society," Colonel Schnelle's lawyer told the court. "The US Marines are going to deal with him very harshly." His lawyer said any conviction would affect any assignments or promotions he could hope to get in future.