US warships could soon become a more familiar sight in Darwin Harbour.
US Senate armed services committee chair John McCain has put a stronger US and Australian naval presence to the north of Australia firmly on his agenda during his coming visit to Australia.
Darwin and Perth have traditionally been ports of call for US warships when operating in the Pacific.
Senator McCain, who will meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, will lay on the table the strategy behind Donald Trump’s Asia-Pacific plan to combat China’s behaviour in the South China Sea and how a heavier US and Australian naval presence in the region would achieve “peace through strength” in the region.
He said the US was developing strategies for the Asia-Pacific region which he thought would have a lot to do with future strategic co-operation with Australia.
“I think Australia could play a key role, particularly since we are witnessing a very large investment in an expanded US navy in the decade ahead,” Mr McCain said.
Mr McCain’s comments on an increase in naval forces in the region comes at the same time the US has beefed up its military strength in Darwin. The US has just sent to Darwin the sixth and most complex US marine air ground task force to be deployed to the Territory. Along with 1250 battle ready marines it has a large aviation combat element.