The US will increase its military footprint in Australia and has agreed with Canberra to invite Japan to take part in the effort, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Tuesday amid increasingly shared concerns about China.
Speaking alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken as they hosted their Australian counterparts at the State Department, Austin said the increased air, land and sea troop rotations will include bomber task forces, fighter jets and additional rotations of Navy and Army capabilities to expand logistics and other cooperation with Australia.
"That will deepen our interoperability and create more agile and resilient capabilities. We'll also continue to find ways to further integrate our defense industrial bases in the years ahead," Austin told reporters.
Exact details on the increased US troop presence, including its size and when it will commence, have yet to be finalized and will be announced at a later date.
Japan, Austin said, has been invited to "integrate into our force posture initiatives in Australia." He did not elaborate.
Looming large over the increased defense cooperation between Washington and Canberra is China, which Austin said is engaged in "dangerous and coercive actions throughout the Indo-Pacific."
Blinken added that the nations agreed "on the need to responsibly manage the relationship with China, to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict and to find areas of cooperation, such as on climate and global health, that will help both our own people as well as people around the world."
The US, along with the UK, announced a trilateral security pact with Australia last year that, among other things, is slated to provide Canberra with technology to field a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. The announcement to provide Australia with the sensitive technology roiled Beijing, which has lashed out strongly against AUKUS.