President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard meet in her Office at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia.

This is exactly what the world needs; “more young male and female Leaders!” Younger men are more apt to the future of the world than the old hags that have been around for too long, and yes, the more women that become world leaders, the less chances of wars that are parasitic to everything that is good in this world!

President Obama insisted Wednesday that theUnited Statesdoes not fearChina, even asU.S.officials acknowledged that a risingChinais part of the reason for a new U.S.-Australia security pact created in response toBeijing’s growing aggressiveness.

The plan is to have a marine, air and ground task force using Australian facilities to act as a “force multiplier” in the region. No newU.S.bases will be built. Marines will rotate into and out of the region, building up slowly from 250. After the buildup is complete, they will total some 2,500.
The number and frequency ofU.S. aircraft using Australian air bases will increase and more bases will be in use. However, no numbers were given regarding air power; there is no ships element in this agreement.

Obama called the deployment “significant,” and said it would build capacity and cooperation between theU.S.andAustralia.

“It also allows us to meet the demands of a lot of partners in the region that want to feel that they’re getting the training, they’re getting the exercises, and that we have the presence that’s necessary to maintain the security architecture in the region,” Obama said.

U.S.officials were careful to emphasize that the pact was not an attempt to create a permanent American military presence inAustralia.

But China  responded swiftly to the president’s announcement during a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin warned that an expandedU.S.military footprint inAustraliamay not be appropriate and deserved greater scrutiny. Liu added that it was worth discussing whether the plan was in line with the common interests of the international community.

Asked aboutChina’s reaction, National Security Council spokesman Ben Rhodes responded simply by saying, we think it’s appropriate. Rhodes said that the “sustained” presence it is a response to the demand from nations in the region that have signaled they want be present.

The president spoke shortly after arriving in the Australian capital, his second stop on a nine-day tour of the Asia-Pacific region. After a 10-hour flight fromHonolulu, where he hosted an economic summit, Obama headed straight into meetings with Gillard.

On Thursday, Obama will address the Australian Parliament, then fly to the northern city ofDarwin, where some of the Marines deploying toAustralianext year will be based.

During his news conference with Gillard, the president sidestepped questions about whether the security agreement was aimed at containingChina. But he said theU.S.would keep sending a clear message thatChinaneeds to accept the responsibilities that come with being a world power.

“It’s important for them to play by the rules of the road,” he said. And he insisted that theUSis not fearful ofChina’s rise. “I think the notion that we fearChinais mistaken. The notion that we’re looking to excludeChinais mistaken,” he said. TheU.S.and smaller Asian nations have grown increasingly concerned aboutChinaclaiming dominion over vast areas of the Pacific that theU.S.considers international waters, and reigniting old territorial disputes, including confrontations over theSouth China Sea.China’s defense spending has increased threefold since the 1990s to about $160 billion last year, and its military has recently tested a new stealth jet fighter and launched its first aircraft carrier.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that the goal of the new security pact is to signal that theU.S.andAustraliawill stick together in face of any threats.

The only American base currently inAustraliais the secretive joint Australia-US. intelligence and communications complex at Pine Gap in centralAustralia. But hundreds ofU.S.service personnel are based inAustraliaon exchange.

Air combat units also use the expansive live bombing ranges in Australia’s sparsely populated north in training rotations of a few months and occasionally naval units train off the coast. But training exercises involving ground forces are unusual.

During Wednesday’s brief news conference, Obama and Gillard also fielded questions on a range of other issues, fromU.S.efforts to address climate change to the debt crisis inEurope.

Obama reiterated his call for urgent action by European leaders to back the euro and develop a financial firewall to keep the threat of default facingGreeceandItalyfrom spreading across the Eurozone.

“The problem right now is one of political will, it’s not a technical problem,” Obama said. “At this point, the larger European community has to stand behind the European project.”

Asked whether theU.S.would be able to lower carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade system asAustraliais undertaking, Obama conceded theU.S.has been unable to pass such a plan through Congress, but notedU.S.efforts to increase vehicle fuel efficiency and to explore clear energy options. He said emerging economies such asIndiaandChinamust also assume responsibility for addressing climate change.

For Obama andAustralia, the third time’s the charm. He canceled two earlier visits, once to stay inWashingtonto lobby for passage of his health care bill, and again in the wake of the oil spill in theGulf of Mexico.

“I was determined to come for a simple reason: The United States of America has no stronger ally thanAustralia,” he said.

2 Responses to “President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard meet in her Office at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia.”

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