East-Asia-Intel.com, April 4, 2012
Australian defense officials last week indicated they would allow the U.S. to use Cocos Island to base America’s spy aircraft, clearly meant for surveillance on China.
In addition to the new base, the U.S. will also be welcomed to expand its use of northern Australia’s various air bases and the naval port of Stirling in West Australia.
Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith told Australia’s ABC News TV on March 28 that “we regard an enhanced presence by the United States in the Asia Pacific region as a force for peace, as a force for stability and a force for prosperity.”
Last November, President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced an agreement to establish a U.S. Marine base in the northern part of the nation near Darwin.
The stated number of U.S. Marines at the time was set at 2,500. Within weeks, the first group of 250 Marines will arrive at the new base, with the total number expected to rise dramatically.