Australia and the United States will invite China to take part in joint
military exercises to help ease fears about an arms race in the
Ties between Australia and China have
been strained over concerns about Beijing's military expansion and the
precarious nature of trade negotiations.
As a way of soothing
tensions, Australian and U.S. defense officials have agreed to approach
the Chinese about taking part in joint military exercises.
Timothy Keating, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, told a
Sydney newspaper that talks with Beijing were a positive sign that
China was willing to cooperate in the plan. Keating also expressed hope
that any joint exercise would help the U.S. and its allies better
understand China's reasons for boosting its weapons capabilities.
The U.S. is reportedly worried that some of China's military ambitions do not appear to be peaceful.
Andrew Davies from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute thinks that closer military sides will benefit all three countries.
gives each side confidence in the ability of the other to act
professionally and it also teaches each side how the other tends to
operate, which can reduce the opportunity for accidents and
misunderstandings," he said.
China's ambassador to Australia,
Zhang Junsai, has welcomed the prospect of joint army and navy
exercises as a way of ensuring regional stability and peace.
between Australia and China have intensified recently over Canberra's
decision to grant a visa to an exiled ethnic Uighur activist and the
arrest in Beijing of an Australian mining executive accused of
infringing trade secrets and bribery.
Zhang Junsai hopes the problems can be ironed out.
difficulties in bilateral relations is something that China does not
want to see. So, we hope Australia will join China to respect and
accommodate each other's interests and our concerns," said Zhang.
Few details have been released about possible joint military exercises between China, the United States and Australia.
have suggested they could include naval and land activities as well
personnel exchanges. A U.S. military spokesman at Admiral Keating's
headquarters in Hawaii said that no formal invitations to join an
exercise had yet been extended to China.