AMERICAN marines landed in Darwin last night, about 200 in a rifle company that will grow to some 2500 US troops.
The decision to base the marines for six months of the year in the Northern Territory was struck last year.
China and Indonesia reacted with concern but Australia and the US have offered reassurance that the move should not be seen as an arms build-up.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a statement last night that the training exercises marked an ''evolution'' of existing military ties.
But she said this did not amount to a ''base''. ''There are no US military bases in Australia, and this will not change,'' she said.
The marines will train with Australian forces but will also use the training ground independently.
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