US troops have been deployed to Darwin
The first of 1,250 marines began arriving in Australia’s tropical north for a six-month deployment, whereby they will conduct exercises with Australian and visiting Chinese forces.
The Commanding Officer of Marine Rotational Force Darwin, Lieutenant Colonel Brian S. Middleton, said the marines would “stand ready to fight and win” if tensions between the US and Kim Jong-un’s hermit state escalated into direct conflict.
He said: “I think that the commitment that we’ve taken to put a task force here with a conversation to get larger over the years says that we do think this is an important region.
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Tensions are simmering between the US and North Korea
We stand ready to fight and win the night always
Lieutenant Colonel Brian S. Middleton
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“Being close to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, the Indo Pacific position has always been important.
“The aviation combat element is our most robust deployment to Darwin.”
When quizzed over North Korea’s ongoing nuclear threat, he said: “Regardless, I think it is just a good move anytime we can strengthen the long-standing partnership and alliance between our two countries.
“We stand ready to fight and win the night always.”
The 25-year deployment programme was started by former US President Barack Obama in 2011.
Along with the 1,250 marines, the US troops will eventually include up to 13 aircraft, four tilt-rotor Ospreys, five Super Cobra helicopters and four Huey helicopters.
The marines are 'stood ready to fight'
The marines are from 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment from Camp Pendleton, California. They will be based at Robertson Barracks, RAAF Base Darwin and Defence Establishment Berrimah.
The warning comes as tensions continue to escalate on the peninsula, with heated rhetoric being bounced back and forth between North Korea and the US.
President Donald Trump tweeted he could have "no choice" but to act if the disgraced country fails to halt its nuclear testing programme.
Trump tweeted he could have "no choice" but to act
North Korea said said it would continue to test nuclear missiles monthly and the US could face "all out war" if president Trump and his government were "reckless enough to use military means".
US military drills are continuing near the Korean Peninsula and the deployment of the American THAAD anti-missile system to South Korea, while president Trump has threatened to “take care” of the North Korean “problem”.
The war of words comes amid North Korea's failed missile test over the Easter bank holiday weekend, as citizens celebrated Kim Il-sung's birthday on the Day of the Sun.