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Obama arrives for long-delayed visit to Australia

(16 Nov 2011)
1. Wide of US President Barrack Obama’s plane, Air Force One, approaching Canberra Airport
2. Plane landing
3. Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce (yellow outfit), Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich walking on tarmac
4. Various of plane taxiing
5. Close up pan from plane windows to US presidential seal on plane
6. Wide of plane
7. Obama emerging from plane, waves, then walks down steps and greets Bryce
8. Various of Obama greeting Gillard
9. Wide of Obama’s limousine
10. Obama boards limousine
11. Pull out from limousine driving away
12. Wide of convoy driving away
President Barack Obama has fulfilled his promise to visit Australia after a long delay, arriving in the capital city of Canberra Wednesday afternoon for a day-and-a-half trip focused on renewing bonds with an exceptionally close US ally.
Air Force One crossed the international dateline as Obama travelled from Honolulu to Australia.
Obama was to hold meetings and a news conference on Wednesday with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who greeted him upon his arrival.
For Obama and Australia, the third time’s the charm.
He cancelled two earlier visits, once to stay in Washington to lobby for passage of his health care bill, and again in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The president is expected to announce that the US is expanding its military presence in Australia, positioning US equipment there, increasing access to bases, and conducting more joint exercises and training.
The moves would counter an increasingly aggressive China, which claims dominion over vast areas of the Pacific that the US considers international waters, and has alarmed smaller Asian neighbours by re-igniting old territorial disputes, including confrontations over the South China Sea.
Following meetings with Gillard on Wednesday, Obama addresses the Australian Parliament on Thursday before travelling to Darwin on Australia’s remote northern coast.
It’s the first time a sitting US president has been to Darwin, where US and Australian forces were killed in a Japanese attack during World War II.
Obama will visit a memorial to the dead.
Obama also will visit a military base in Darwin where he’ll speak to Australian troops and US Marines.
The visit comes as the US and Australia mark 60 years as defence treaty partners.
Obama’s visit has been eagerly anticipated in Australia, where residents have generally been understanding about his previous cancellations.
From Australia, Obama will head to Indonesia for a security summit with Asian nations before finishing his nine-day trip and returning to Washington on 20 November.

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