The Australian Defence Force in the Northern Territory of Australia have been joined by a rotational force of approximately 2,200 U.S. Marine Corps members until September 2022. The increased presence of U.S. Marines is due to the potential invasion of Taiwan by Chinese forces, and the increased forces in Australia would ensure the ADF is prepared for any crisis or conflict the occurs in the region.
One thousand U.S. Marines have already arrived in Darwin, to participate in joint training operations alongside the ADF. The group of U.S. Marines forms part of an ongoing U.S. initiative in the Indo-Pacific region to prepare for a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan in coming years.”
On March 16th Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton warned China may look to invade Taiwan while the eyes of the world are focused on the Ukrainian conflict. He highlighted that Australian forces would aid U.S. forces should it be in the defence of Taiwan. He stated that “it would be inconceivable that we wouldn’t support the U.S. in an action if the U.S. chose to take that action. I think we should be very frank and honest about that [and] look at all of the facts and circumstances without pre-committing. [Maybe] there are circumstances where we wouldn’t take up that option, [but] I can’t conceive of those circumstances.”
Commanding officer of ADF Northern Command, Colonel Marcus Constable has repeated the necessity for a strong relationship between the U.S. and Australia. “It is a key way we increase regional cooperation with partners in the Indo-Pacific. Together, we conduct a comprehensive range of training activities including humanitarian assistance, security operations and high-end live-fire exercises,” said the Colonel.
Back in 2021 Beijing warned that Australia would suffer a “heavy attack” if the ADF were to come to the aid of Taiwan. They also warned of the possibility of nuclear weapons in response to the AUKUS security pact, whereby the U.S. and U.K. would help Australia obtain nuclear powered submarines. Canberra did not take the threat lightly.
This latest deployment of Marines to Australia follows on from a warning by former U.S. President Donald Trump who warned that China could invade Taiwan. During an interview in February 2022 with Clay Travis and Buck Saxton Trump warned China is “going to be next” to assert its military might.