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Wednesday, 04 April 2012 - 9:51
First US Marines arrive in Australia
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The first contingent of up to 2,500 US Marines to be deployed in Australia were settling in today as Washington bolsters its military presence in the strategically vital region.

Some 200 Marines touched down in Darwin overnight as part of an enhanced defence cooperation outlined during a visit by US President Barack Obama in November that rankled China.

The troops are in the Northern Territory on a six-month rotational basis and will be based at Robertson Barracks on the outskirts of the city.

In a joint statement, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson welcomed what they said was the latest chapter in a more than 60-year alliance with the US.

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