Defence Minister Stephen Smith says he will attempt to allay Chinese concerns over Australia's strong bond with the United States, when he meets with officials there this week.

In a speech in Singapore on Saturday, Mr Smith spoke of the "positive impact" the United States was having on regional security in the Asia Pacific, just hours after the Pentagon announced it was shifting more navy ships to the region.

The move could increase tensions with China, whose leaders have expressed unhappiness at any larger US presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Shortly after arriving in Perth today, Mr Smith, who is due to fly to China tomorrow, said he would assure officials when he got there that Australia's 40 year relationship with China would not be adversely affected by the US-Australia alliance.

"The point I will make to Chinese friends is that Australia has had a growing relationship with China," he told the ABC's Insiders Program.

"We now have a comprehensive relationship, very strong economically. We also have a growing military to military and defence to defence relationship, which we continue to enhance.

"None of that has been affected by our over 60-year alliance with the United States."

In April, Australia welcomed the first rotational deployment of 250 US marines to Darwin and northern Australia.

Eventually around 2500 will train in Australia, under the program of enhanced defence co-operation, as outlined by US President Barack Obama during a visit to Australia in November.

The West Australian

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