US President Obama Heads to Australia to Strengthen Ties

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President Obama speaks in Hawaii at the Ihilani Resort on November 13, 2012
President Obama speaks in Hawaii at the Ihilani Resort on November 13, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama is heading to Australia for a long-delayed visit to discuss economic and security concerns.

Mr. Obama departed from his home state of Hawaii Tuesday afternoon where he hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Upon his arrival in Canberra Wednesday, Mr. Obama will meet with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard before holding a joint press conference. On Thursday, he will address the Australian parliament before heading to the northern city of Darwin, where he is expected to announce plans for a new base for U.S. marines.

The visit comes as the U.S. and Australia mark the 60th anniversary of a defense treaty.

Australia has contributed troops to fight alongside the United States since each of its major conflicts, including World War Two, Korea, Vietnam as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama will be the fifth serving U.S. president to visit Australia.

From Australia, Mr. Obama heads to Bali, Indonesia, for a meeting of regional leaders at the East Asia Summit.

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