The U.S. Marine Corps opened its first new base in 70 years Thursday on Guam, an island equidistant between Japan and Taiwan to allow American troops to act if China makes a move on Taiwan, according to media reports.
The 4,000 acre base, formally known as Camp Blaz, will house approximately 5,000 Marines and comes as the U.S. is seeking to reorganize troop presence in the Pacific to bolster deterrence against China, according to CNN. It will eventually serve as a training hub for Marines aiming to guard allies, critical sea lanes and Pacific islands in the event of a Chinese invasion, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Forward, persistent presence is key to the regional security and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said, according to a Corps press release.
“Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz is a critical part of that. More than that, it shows our undivided relationship with the government of Japan,” he added.
The U.S. and Japan agreed on Jan. 11 to restructure the Marine Corps force stationed in Okinawa, giving them more firepower and the ability to quickly respond as China readies for a potential offensive against Taiwan. A new strategy will arm the roughly 18,000 Marines deployed to Okinawa with missiles that can reach the Chinese mainland and increase their maneuverability if they are called upon to defend Taiwan.