During the upcoming weeks, the US plans to station 1200 marines in Australia as tensions rise between China and the Western world.
Reports claim the activity to be a ‘show of military might’ by the US, amidst the blame game over COVID-19.
The main unit will start to arrive at Darwin, during early June. However, an advanced force party, comprising around 54 marines is already stationed at the Northern Territory, since the past two months.
The annual rotation at Darwin was postponed earlier March, where speculations about its cancellation also grew. The US Federal Government stated that it would not send its marines, amidst fears of COVID-19. This decision was soon reversed weeks later.
After arriving, all marines will undergo 14 days of quarantine. They will also be vigorously screened through a strict testing regime. This is an attempt to prevent the rapid spread of the virus towards remote Aboriginal tribes in Australia.
The US-based troops will then practice military exercises with Australian counterparts in their territory, up until September. An estimate of around 2500 marines will take part in the exercise. This is the same number of troops to be stationed at Darwin late last year.
The marines will first reach a staging base at Okinawa in Japan, where they will already be in isolation. They will be screened four days before leaving this camp, followed by further COVID-19 testing at Darwin, post quarantine.
Linda Reynolds, the Australian minister of Defense described the deployment as an act to demonstrate the strengthened defense alliance between both Australia and the US. She further went on to claim how the exercise is a ‘shared commitment to regional security.’
The deployment this year comes in light of the deteriorating relations between China with the Western Nations.
China is reportedly infuriated by independent inquiry claims by Australia into the spread as well as the origin of the Corona pandemic.At the same time, US President Donald Trump has also accused China for covering up the Corona Virus and being slow to curb its spread.
Only time can prove whether or not this is the start of a new cold war between China and the US.