Australian news, and some related international items

US deployment of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to Australia’s north likely to fuel China tensions

US-funded upgrade of Tindal airbase in Northern Territory will allow it to house up to six B-52s, as minister says Australia must remain ‘vigilant’

Guardian Daniel Hurst 31 Oct 22,

An expanded Royal Australian Air Force base in the Northern Territory will have space for up to six American nuclear-capable B-52 aircraft as part of a US-funded project that is likely to fuel tensions with China.

Officials in Canberra confirmed that the US-funded aircraft parking apron at RAAF Base Tindal, 320km south-east of Darwin, would be capable of accommodating up to six B-52 aircraft, but said it could also house other aircraft types……………..

the detailed plans – first reported by the ABC on Monday – suggest the new Labor government has locked in plans initiated under the former Coalition government to expand visits to Australia by US aircraft.

The B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can carry out ocean surveillance and anti-ship operations and “can carry nuclear or precision guided conventional ordnance”, according to a US government summary………………………………….

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, told reporters at a regular briefing that China “urges the parties concerned to abandon the outdated Cold War and zero-sum mentality and narrow minded geopolitical thinking, and to do something conducive to regional peace and stability and enhancing mutual trust between the countries.”

He said defence and security cooperation between countries should “not target any third parties or harm the interests of third parties.”…………………..

Former prime minister Scott Morrison revealed in September last year that he expected the US to increase its military presence in the region while Australia awaits nuclear-powered submarines under the Aukus deal – the first of which were at that stage expected to be ready by the late 2030s.

Senior ministers Peter Dutton and Marise Payne held annual talks with their US counterparts in Washington DC a day after the Aukus announcement, and also flagged plans for more US military deployments to Australia.\

…………………………… The new details of the project are likely to trigger a reaction from the Chinese government. Chinese state media have previously quoted domestic analysts as saying Australia could “essentially become an overseas bomber base of the US”.

While the Albanese government has sought to “stabilise” the relationship with China through a change in “tone” and several ministers have now met with their counterparts, Canberra’s fundamental defence posture remains as it did under the Coalition.

Earlier this month the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, signed a new security declaration with his visiting Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, to deter “aggression and behaviour that undermines international rules and norms”.

The deal commits Australia and Japan to consult each other on how to respond to regional crises, and is expected to pave the way for greater sharing of intelligence and strategic assessments about China’s intentions………………….


October 31, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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