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U.S. to increase military activities in Australia from 2012: Obama

(Xinhua)

08:22, November 17, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in her office at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, November 16, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

CANBERRA, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- The United States is stepping up its commitment in the Asia-Pacific, with U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday announcing the United States will boost military activities in Australia from 2012.

In a joint press conference held here after a meeting between Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the pair announced the two countries have agreed to increase joint military initiatives to enhance the alliance between the two nations.

From 2012, the United States will boost its military activities in Australia in stages. A force of around 250 marines will be accommodated and begin training in the Northern Territory of Australia next year.

The U.S. forces, which will bring with them vehicles, ships and aircraft, will then be increased to a battalion strength group of 1,000 by 2014 and will have a 2,500-strong Marine Air-Ground Task Force by 2016.

Exercises will involve joint training and combat operations, live firing, evacuations, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

Also over the next two years, more U.S. aircraft will come to Tindal base in Northern Territory for training and exercises.

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