Updated: 08/12/2014 16:25 | By Agence France-Presse

Australia defends US security deal as talks open

The United States stressed Tuesday it welcomes the rise of China and wants to work constructively with Beijing as it signed a deal to deploy 2,500 Marines to Australia as part of its "rebalance" to Asia.


Australia defends US security deal as talks open

US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) during the start of AUSMIN talks at Admiralty House in Sydney on August 12, 2014 - by Dan Himbrechts

China bristled when the agreement to deploy Marines to the northern city of Darwin was first announced by President Barack Obama in 2011.

But after signing the deal at the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) in Sydney, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington was not interested in conflict with the Asian powerhouse.

"We welcome the rise of China as a global partner, hopefully as a powerful economy, as a full participating constructive member of the international community," he said.

"We are not seeking conflict and confrontation. And our hope is that China will likewise take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of it and be that cooperative partner."

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop earlier defended the deal to bring US Marines and Air Force personnel to the Northern Territory, denying it was aimed at China which is embroiled in maritime disputes with neighbours.

"That's not what it is directed to do at all. It's about working closely with the United States to ensure that we can work on regional peace and security," she told a radio programme.

"The United States is rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific so it's ways we can work together to support economic development as well as security and peace."

After the talks Bishop, who also hosted US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, said the discussions were broad -- ranging from tensions on the Korean peninsula to the crisis in Ukraine and to conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Gaza and Afghanistan.

- Threat of foreign jihadists -

The threat of foreign jihadist militants fighting in these conflicts and then returning home radicalised was also explored. The US and Australia agreed to raise the issue at the United Nations.

Kerry said this problem, highlighted by images in local media of the seven-year-old son of an Australian jihadist in Syria holding a severed head, underscored the degree to which Islamic State fighters were "so far beyond the pale".

"This image, perhaps even an iconic photograph, is really one of the most disturbing, stomach-turning, grotesque photos ever displayed," Kerry said. 

"It's no accident that every country in the region is opposed to ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)."

Bishop made no comment about the prospect of an increased US military presence beyond the Marines, some 1,200 of whom are already in the country.

But a communique issued after the talks said that enhanced aircraft and naval cooperation was discussed, while the allies would also examine options for Australia's contributions to ballistic missile defence in the region.

Bishop said there existed between Australia and the United States "a clear instinct for collaboration across a wide area of endeavour".

"There is a desire to share the burden of implementing regional and global peace and prosperity, security and stability," she said.

Bishop added that there was no more important security partner for Australia than the US and their longstanding alliance "had never been stronger".

But she said Canberra did not envisage Australian troops would return to Iraq, where the US is carrying out air strikes and humanitarian airdrops to try to combat jihadist fighters.

However, Australia has offered support for humanitarian relief.

Kerry also ruled out sending troops to Iraq.

Speaking at the start of the talks at Sydney's harbourside Admiralty House, he said the Australia-US relationship was "essential to the stability of the Asia-Pacific region".

"We do face new challenges," he said, citing North Korea and maritime disputes in the South China Sea.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。