Australia's $580 mln military upgrades eye Asia

Australia plans to spend U.S.$580 million to upgrade four northern military bases and expand war games with the United States...

... and it comes amid the country's increasingly bitter relationship with China.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement on Wednesday.

He says Australia must expand its military assets in the Northern Territory to be able to respond to unspecified tensions in the Asia-Pacific.

"Our objective here in this part of the world is a free and open Indo-Pacific. Our objective here is to ensure a peaceful region but one that, at the same time, Australia is in a position to always protect its interests, always advance our national interests, always support a global world order that favours freedom and that is something that we share very deeply with our American friends and allies."

The military upgrades will begin this year and will be completed by 2026.

They're part of an Australia defense plan that will see Canberra spend $270 billion in the next decade to improve Canberra's long-range strike capabilities.

Morrison said last year the funding was needed as the Asia-Pacific region was experiencing the greatest level of economic and strategic uncertainty since World War II.