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Jakarta Post

US troops in Australia: What should Indonesia do?

  • Untung Suropati

Jakarta   /   Thu, December 15 2011   /  07:56 am

US President Barack Obama’s announcement of the deployment of 2,500 US troops to Darwin, Australia, only a few days before attending the East Asia Summit in Indonesia has made some countries uncomfortable.

China — although briefed by Australia beforehand — immediately reacted by questioning the appropriateness of having US marines in Australia. That China would react came as no surprise. Many saw this arrangement as part of a US plan to balance China’s rise as well as strengthen its role in the region.

Indonesia was not very excited, either. Right after the announcement in Canberra, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told the press that the arrangement would generate a “vicious circle of tension and mistrust’’.

One of Indonesia’s top newspapers wrote in an editorial that the US presence was “first and foremost” intended to show China that it stil...