Australia unveils military upgrades and US drills amid China tensions
Australian minister warns ‘the drums of war are beating’ as it pledges to upgrade military bases and expand drills with US forces to combat China
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveils plans worth half a billion US dollars
- Australian minister warns ‘the drums of war’ are beating in the Pacific region
- War between China and Taiwan should not be discounted, says defence chief
Australia is to upgrade military bases in its far north and expand joint drills with US forces after warnings about the ‘drums of war’ beating in the Pacific region.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a plan on Wednesday worth more than half a billion US dollars to revamp four military training facilities in the remote north over the next five years.
It comes as one top government official this week warned that free nations ‘again hear’ the ‘drums of war’ in the region, while newly-installed Defence Minister Peter Dutton openly mused about the prospect of a war between China and Taiwan.
Australia is to upgrade military bases in its far north and expand joint drills with US forces after warnings about the ‘drums of war’ beating in the Pacific region. Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) announced a plan on Wednesday worth more than half a billion US dollars to revamp four military training facilities in the remote north over the next five years
Australia has announced a plan to upgrade its military bases in the far north and expand joint drills with US forces
The Chinese government has made increasingly belligerent speeches recently on its intentions to ‘reunify’ Taiwan and China.
The package of upgrades is more extensive and more costly than first conceived two years ago and would allow more joint drills with American forces, including US marines rotating through the northern port of Darwin.
‘We will always do what is necessary to ensure Australia has the capability it needs to protect and defend its interests,’ Morrison said Wednesday.
His conservative government has sounded more hawkish on defence in recent months as relations with China have soured.
Last year the Morrison government unveiled plans to dramatically tool up its military with high-tech weaponry in the face of greater threats from Beijing.
Mike Pezzullo said free countries could hear ‘the drums of war’ which are beating ‘ever closer’ in his Anzac Day speech
Australia is increasingly concerned about the military threat from China as relations have soured. (File image, Chinese troops hold marching drills to celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China)
The announcement follows a warning from Department of Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo about the threat of war during a speech on Australia’s veterans’ day on Sunday, known as Anzac Day, which was published in The Australian newspaper on Tuesday.
‘In a world of perpetual tension and dread, the drums of war beat – sometimes faintly and distantly, and at other times more loudly and ever closer,’ Pezzullo said.
‘Today, as free nations again hear the beating drums and watch worryingly the militarisation of issues that we had, until recent years, thought unlikely to be catalysts for war, let us continue to search unceasingly for the chance for peace while bracing again, yet again, for the curse of war,’ he added.
Defense Minister Peter Dutton raised the prospect of conflict between China and Taiwan in his own comments on Anzac Day.
Dutton said war between China and Taiwan should not be ruled out as a possibility
‘Nobody wants to see conflict between China and Taiwan or anywhere else in the world,’ Dutton told Australian Broadcasting Corp. ‘I don’t think it should be discounted,’ he said.
Australia last week received an angry response from Beijing after cancelling two Chinese Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure deals with the Victoria state government on national interest grounds.
Defence experts have even suggested the country should consider developing nuclear weapons capability since Australia’s relatively small conventional forces are unlikely to be able to defend the vast continent-country from an attack.
Critics have accused the government of manufacturing a crisis to divert attention from a stalled coronavirus vaccine rollout and sliding poll numbers.
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd said Morrison, Dutton and allied media mogul Rupert Murdoch were ‘trying desperately to shift the domestic political agenda away from the vaccine debacle, the climate change fiasco and abuse scandals in Canberra’.
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