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US to further military footprint in Australia to suppress China; Washington ‘source of tension’ in Asia-Pacific

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 11: Members of the Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition (SAAC) participate in a protest in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, December 11, 2021. Members of the Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition (SAAC) are holding a protest in opposition to the AUKUS military agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, the development of nuclear submarines and war on China. Steven Saphore / Anadolu Agency (Photo by STEVEN SAPHORE / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)

Washington ‘source of tension’ fueling security situation in Asia-Pacific

Chinese analysts on Sunday warned of a more volatile and unstable Asia-Pacific region where the US would provoke a regional arms race with more large-scale military drills and more strategic weapons deployments, after the latest move between the US and Australia that reached an agreement to expand the US military footprint on the southern continent to contain China’s development. 

The US and Australia will deepen military ties after reaching an agreement that expands military cooperation as both countries work to suppress China’s growing influence and try to interfere in the Taiwan question and South China Sea affairs, according to media reports on Saturday.

According to Bloomberg and Australian media outlet ABC, the changes include more frequent and longer visits by US submarines to Australia, a regular rotation of US Army watercraft and collaborating on guided missile production and working to establish deeper security relationships with other countries in the region, most notably Japan.

Chinese analysts said the new military deal reveals that the US is using Australia as its forward base while strengthening its military presence in the southern Pacific country. It wants to build Australia into a part of the US military industrial chain, share the load of producing weapons and equipment. This is clearly adding fuel to the security situation in the Asia-Pacific, warned analysts, who slammed the US as the real source of regional tension.

Analysts believe as the US has found that its other allies such as Japan, South Korea and the Philippines on the first island chain are too close to China as forward bases, and as China builds up its military capabilities, these locations as well as Guam on the second island chain are no longer safe if there is a conflict. Australia is further away from China, so the US is promoting the construction of bases and increasing the rotation and deployment of American troops there.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Saturday that the US will help Australia develop guided missiles by 2025, and analysts said this is to enable Australia to have a stronger military research and development capability, so that Australia can produce missiles and ammunition for the US.

Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Sunday that in the event of war, Australia, the US’ important supply base and ammunition depot, could also become a target of attack – that is, the US would sacrifice Australia to preserve the security of its domestic production base.

In the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the large consumption of ammunition of US military aid has exposed the production capacity problem of the US military industrial chain, so the country is urgently trying to make up for this shortcoming.

Citing the Pacific Deterrence Initiative proposed by the US in March, Song noted that the US aims to build more military bases, so that it can move between them in case some of them are destroyed, and those in Australia and Guam are important replacement bases for the US in case of a conflict, Song said.

According to the joint statement released by the US and Australia, a more visible presence will be the arrival of “regular and longer” visits by US submarines to HMAS Stirling naval base in western Australia. “These visits would help build Australia’s capacity in preparation for Submarine Rotational Force-West, an important milestone for the AUKUS Optimal Pathway that would commence as early as 2027,” said the statement.

Yu Lei, chief research fellow at the Research Center for Pacific Island Countries at Liaocheng University, predicted that the US would provide Australia with more advanced weapons and military technology to enhance the combat effectiveness of the Australian army, which in fact risks the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Australia. 

“This is causing unease in neighboring countries like Indonesia and even India,” Yu noted.

The US is well prepared to sacrifice the national security of its allies to achieve its own hegemony, Song revealed. 

Under such circumstances, US military aircraft, ships, nuclear submarines, including the future AUKUS nuclear submarines and other weapons and equipment will more frequently take Australia as a base to conduct close-in reconnaissance and provocative exercises around China, analysts predicted.

They warned that the US and Australia will accumulate more ammunition and equipment to try to intervene in the Taiwan Straits.

Despite the hype by some Western media smearing China as the source of regional tensions, all the moves again expose that the root cause of the unstable situation is the US and its allies who are attempting to suppress China’s development, interfere in China’s internal affairs and militarily provoke China, analysts stressed.

Source : Global Times