The deployment of US marines to Darwin announced by Julia Gillard in 2011 was partly aimed at countering the rise of China and anchoring a US presence in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes.
“China was a part of the backdrop of that, not because we want to use the marines in Darwin to go to war with China, but because their presence sends a message to all the countries in the region that the US is going to be engaged here,” he told The Australian.
“We had to be careful and work through the Australian government. We didn’t want to antagonise China, but we wanted to show the US working with allies like Australia in that part of the world.”
Mr Rhodes called Australia a “top tier” US ally who shared “the same basic view of the world”.