17 Nov 2011

Australia says US alliance no threat to China

3:27 pm on 17 November 2011

The Australian government says China should not feel threatened by the increased United States military presence in Australia.

China is questioning whether stationing US Marines in Australia is in keeping with the Pacific region's peaceful development.

The United States and Australia have agreed on a deal under which up to 2500 marines will be in northern Australia by 2016.

It will also lead to American jets, including B-52s, being based in the Northern Territory.

It will be the first time that US troops have formal approval to train alone in Australia.

The two countries will also be involved in joint training and other military exercises.

Australian deputy prime minister Wayne Swann says the strengthening of the US/Australian military alliance should not be of concern to Beijing as both Washington and Canberra welcome the rise of China.

"It is not the US on one hand and China on the other," he says.

US President Barack Obama says the deal with will bring the countries' militaries closer and make them more effective.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin is questioning whether the agreement is wise, the ABC reports.

Mr Liu says China would never enter such military alliances because it is promoting peaceful international development.

Mr Liu says he hopes the US will match its actions to its promise that it is not trying to rein in China.

The ABC is reporting that Indonesia has also expressed concern, saying the move could provoke a negative reaction.