April 04 - The first of 2, 500 U.S. troops arrive in the Australian port city of Darwin as the U.S. seeks to deepen its Asia-Pacific military presence. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION About 200 U.S. Marines set foot on Australian soil for the start of a six-month detachment on Tuesday (April 3). They are the first of 2, 500 troops expected to rotate through a de facto base in the port city of Darwin, as part of plans to deepen the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific. The deployment of Marines to Australia was part of a deal unveiled late last year by U.S. President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to boost bilateral military co-operation and training. A Marine Corps spokesman said the first group would take part in exercises with the Australian Defence Forces, and will also travel to other countries in the region for training and exercises. Darwin is 820 kilometres from Indonesia, putting the Marines in a position to respond quickly to any humanitarian and security issues in Southeast Asia, where disputes over sovereignty in the South China Sea have increased tensions. China has questioned whether the U.S. move is part of a wider strategy aimed at encircling it and thwarting the nation's rise as a global power. It has also questioned whether strengthening military alliances would help the region when economic troubles put a premium on co-operation. When the U.S. -Australia decision was announced in November, Obama stressed that it was was not an attempt to isolate China.