CANBERRA, Australia — President Barack Obama insisted Wednesday that the United States does not fear China, even as he announced a new security agreement with Australia that is widely viewed as a response to China’s growing aggressiveness. China responded swiftly, warning that an expanded U.S. military footprint in Australia may not be appropriate and deserved greater scrutiny. The agreement, announced during a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, will expand the U.S. military presence in Australia, positioning more U.S. personnel and equipment there, and increasing American access to bases. About 250 U.S. Marines will begin a rotation in northern Australia starting next year, with a full force of 2,500 military personnel staffing up over the next several years. Obama called the deployment “significant,” and said it would build capacity and cooperation between the U.S. and Australia. U.S. officials were careful to emphasize that the pact was not an attempt to create a permanent American military presence in Australia. “It also allows us to meet the demands of a lot of partners in the region that want to feel that they’re getting the training, they’re getting the exercises, and that we have the presence that’s necessary to maintain… Read full this story
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