Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne announced the plans on Tuesday, stating that the “development of facilities will support the Force Posture Initiatives,” a series of military cooperation agreements reached by the US and Australia in 2011.
Payne discussed the infrastructure plan in terms of military cooperation, alhthough Washington’s eyes will likely remain fixed north once the base is built. The US has repeatedly sounded the alarm over China’s growing military confidence in the South and East China Seas, and has sailed its warships through contested waterways to reinforce its “freedom of navigation” claims.
“It’s in the US’ geostrategic interests to work with Australia, and also to keep a presence in the East and South China Seas,” former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT. “Along with showing those countries that are in dispute with China over mineral rights that the United States backs their claims.”
However, while Australia might welcome an American base as a show of solidarity amid President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy, the US was never likely to roll back its international military presence under Trump, Maloof noted.