Northern Australia’s value not lost on friends and rivals

It has been painfully obvious for years that our major ally, the US, major regional partner, Japan, and our major market, China, all see more strategic value in northern Australia than successive federal governments and much of our Defence establishment.

At a time when the US has been trying to reduce the burden of overseas military commitments, the “rotational deployments” of US Marine Corps troops to the Top End — now in their ninth year — are based on an American judgment that northern Australia is increasingly important to Asia’s security.

In the face of a more aggressive China with stronger military forces, the US is dispersing its own forces in Asia. While it’s right to say that 2500 marines is hardly a threat to Beijing, it’s an important demonstration of America’s commitment to Australia and Southeast Asian security.