President Obama is on a nine day visit of the Asian Pacific region, which started with hosting the APEC summit in Honolulu, Hawaii. Air Force 1 touched down in Canberry, Australia on Monday evening for the start of an official visit to Australia. In a joint press conference with Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Obama announced the deployment of approximately 250 U.S. Marines, a number that will be gradually increased to 2,500. The move is to establish closer co-operation with the Australian Defence Force. The move acknowledges concern with the increased Chinese influence in the area.
President Obama was invited to address a Joint Session of the Australian Parliament where he reinforced that with the draw down of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, American focus was now shifting to the Asian Pacific regions. He said that the United States was a Pacific power and here to stay. He said that he had instructed his national security team to make America’s presence in the region a priority.
In his speech he highlighted his Administrations strength when it comes to national security, stating that his Administration has struck major blows on Al Qaeda, which put the terrorist organization on a path of defeat and delivered justice to Osama Bin Laden.
Obama also addressed the economic situation back home, stating that there had been hard decisions to get Americans fiscal house in order.
“We’ve made hard decisions to cut our deficit and put our fiscal house in order and we will continue to do more, because our economic strength at home is the foundation of our leadership in the world, including here in the Asia-Pacific.
The address underscored Tuesday’s announcement to increase the presence of US troops and assets in Australia.The chamber was crammed with MPs, senators and ambassadors in what was just the fourth address by a US president to a special joint session of Parliament.Mr Obama said the United States was a Pacific power “here to stay” and that he had instructed his national security team to make America’s presence in the region a top priority.His visit to Australia marks the 60th anniversary of the Australia-US alliance and 10 years since the September 11 attacks.
Mr Obama noted the two nations had fought together in every major war over the past century and continued to stand united in Afghanistan.
“And today I can stand before you and say with confidence that the alliance between the United States and Australia has never been stronger,” he said.
“As it has been to our past, our alliance continues to be indispensable to our future.”
“We’ve struck major blows against Al Qaeda and put that terrorist organisation on the path to defeat, including delivering justice to Osama bin L. aden,” he said.
“So make no mistake, the tide of war is receding and America is looking ahead to the future that we must build.”
Obama’s visit to Australia marked the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Australia Alliance.
The President’s next stop will be in Indonesia where he will attend a summit with Asian leaders.