Press TV — Feb 11, 2018
The Pentagon is planning to deploy thousands of US Marines and other military forces to East Asia in a bid to form a front against China, a new report has revealed.
According to the new plan, the administration of US President Donald Trump would authorize deploying Marine Expeditionary Units, or MEUs, to the region, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier in the week.
Comprising about 2,200 Marines complete with their own aircraft, tanks and other heavy weaponry, the MEUs will be deployed in rotating seven-month tours.
Some of the troops are said to be deployed from bases in the Middle East, where the US has been engaged in the so-called wars on terror for years in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The US also has around 50,000 service members in Japan, almost 30,000 in South Korea, and 7,000 more in the Pacific territory of Guam.
The Pentagon is also expected to increase the number of its Marines deployed in Darwin, Australia, where there are already some 1,250 American troops deployed on rotating six-month tours.
According to the report, the pending deployments fall in line with America’s new National Defense Strategy published earlier by the Trump administration which revolves around pushing against Russia and China’s growing influence in the region.
“I believe the [National Defense Strategy] and other guidance requires us to adopt a more global posture and this will shape our future naval presence, especially in the Indo-Pacific region,” said General Robert Neller, the commanding officer of the US Marine Corps.
“We have to be present and engaged to compete,” he added. The new defense strategy “will shape our future naval presence, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.”
In order to counter China’s rise, the US has also established strong trade and military ties with India.
India has begun holding trilateral naval exercises with the US and Japan that military experts say could eventually include Australia as well.
China is in a territorial dispute with India and with some of its other neighbors in the East and South China Sea. While strengthening its military, the country has been seeking a peaceful rise to a global power status.
In January, Admiral Harry Harris, the head of the US military’s Pacific Command, said China was a “disruptive” power in the Indo-Pacific region and needed to be confronted.