US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to visit Australia to forge closer military ties with Australia to counter China.
November 12, 2012
US SECRETARY of State Hillary Clinton will arrive in Perth today to cement closer defence ties with Australia to counter China's growing military might.
Mrs Clinton, who is tipped to become the first woman nominated for the US presidency in 2016, after she retires as chief diplomat, will arrive in the west to join US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta for the annual AUSMIN talks with Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Defence Minister Stephen Smith. She also will meet Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
From late tomorrow until Friday morning, there will be security restrictions when she visits various Adelaide defence facilities.
It is expected to be Mrs Clinton's last trip Down Under in her present role, as she has previously said she would not be interested in a second term as Secretary of State should President Barack Obama be re-elected.
High on the AUSMIN agenda will be the rapid growth of China's military power and the new leader in Beijing as well as greater access for US forces to Australian bases.
It is understood that formal plans will be presented allowing US war planes more access to RAAF bases at Tindal, near Katherine, and Darwin, as well as the Delamere air weapons range south of Tindal.
The program for increasing US Marine numbers into Darwin from 250 this year to 2500 will also be discussed, along with the longer-term issue of increased US warship access to Fleet Base West at HMAS Stirling, south of Perth.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith described the US alliance as the "bedrock" of Australia's security arrangements and said China and India would be the key drivers of security policy in the future.
"I continue to make the point that everyone sees the rise of China, but the rise of India and the importance of the Indian Ocean rim and the Indian Ocean strategically continues to be under-appreciated. And HMAS Stirling, as our Indian Ocean port, will continue to grow in significance," Mr Smith said.
Defence spending will not be on the AUSMIN agenda after Mr Smith and US ambassador Jeffery Bleich said there were no concerns on either side about the large budget cuts being imposed on both forces.
Protesters pushing for tighter arms trade rules are expected to be joined by anti-war activists outside the talks.
Members of Amnesty International, Oxfam and the Medical Association for Prevention of War will lie on a carpet of red fabric surrounded by tombstones to symbolise lives lost to the arms trade.
Hillary Clinton to travel to Perth, Adelaide and Singapore.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Australia for defence talks & meetings with Australia's political and business leaders.
Mrs Clinton leaves Sunday for Perth and the annual US-Australia meeting of ministers, where she will also meet with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr, a State Department statement said.
The Perth summit on November 14 comes after the arrival of US Marine and Air Force units to northern Australia, seen as evidence of an American "rebalance" towards the Pacific after a decade of ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
She will also travel to Adelaide to meet Australian business leaders as well as visit Techport Australia, a huge shipbuilding facility.
Australian newspapers also reported that Mrs Clinton, who has said she plans to step down at the end of her four-year term in January, would make a private trip to meet close friends in Adelaide.
The much-travelled top US diplomat then heads to Singapore on Friday to meet with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
From Singapore, Mrs Clinton will join up with President Barack Obama in Thailand on his first foreign visit since he won a historic second term in Tuesday's presidential elections.
Mrs Clinton will join Mr Obama on November 18 for meetings with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck and other senior Thai officials "to underscore our strong alliance and discuss shared priorities and regional issues in advance of the ASEAN East Asia Summit," Ms Nuland said in the statement.
She will then accompany Mr Obama on his landmark trip to Burma on November 19, before heading with him to Cambodia for the US-ASEAN leaders meeting and the East Asia summit.