Speaking on the sidelines of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue, U.S. Admiral Scott Swift, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, dismissed rumors that the United States was interested in pursuing new military “bases” and “infrastructure” in either Darwin or Fremantle, Australia. Swift’s remarks come as tensions remain high in the South China Sea, where China has built man-made islands out of submerged maritime features at an unprecedented rate beginning last year. Swift made headlines in late July when he participated in a seven hour surveillance flight over the South China Sea on a U.S. P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft, one of his first acts as the commander of the Pacific Fleet after taking over from Admiral Harry Harris.
“As the Pacific Fleet commander I currently see no value of new bases,” Swift told the press in Australia. ”We don’t need more infrastructure from a navy point of view.”