News / Asia

    Australia Announces $21 Billion Defense Expansion

    FILE - The Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Perth is guided into position by a Royal New Zealand Airforce aircraft during the search for Flight MH370. The biggest investment in the new plan will be the construction of 12 submarines.
    FILE - The Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Perth is guided into position by a Royal New Zealand Airforce aircraft during the search for Flight MH370. The biggest investment in the new plan will be the construction of 12 submarines.
    Phil Mercer

    Australia will spend an extra $21 billion in defense spending over the next decade. The government says it reflects concern over rapid militarization in the Asia-Pacific region.

    The specifics of Australia's defense priorities for the next decade were revealed in a policy document released Thursday by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

    The biggest investment will be the construction of 12 submarines, with additional funds for other naval vessels, fighter jets and more than 62,000 personnel, its biggest permanent force since 1993.

    Under Turnbull’s blueprint, defense spending will make up two percent of Australia's national income within five years.

    There is concern in Canberra over China’s militarization of the South China Sea, and officials concede the new policy document reflects Australia's “growing discomfort” with Beijing's military activity.

    FILE - Crew on an Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster prepare to unload an Australian Navy Seahawk helicopter.
    FILE - Crew on an Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster prepare to unload an Australian Navy Seahawk helicopter.

    Speaking Thursday in the national capital, Canberra, the Prime Minister said Australia had to respond to military changes in its region.

    “The relationship between the United States and China, how it develops and grows, will be critically important. We welcome China's rise and its greater capacity to share responsibility for supporting regional and global security. We will seek to build on our already strong military ties with Indonesia - that vibrant, stable democracy to our north,” said Turnbull.

    Analysts believe the Australian defense plan highlights Canberra’s willingness to work with other countries to maintain regional stability, and should not be seen as sending a direct warning to China.

    They add that Australia must tread a delicate diplomatic path -- developing its longstanding military alliance with the United States and bolstering ties with India and Japan, while at the same time nurturing its relationship with China, its biggest trading partner.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Seato
    February 25, 2016 5:15 PM
    South China Sea has always been and should always be International waters.China should under no circumstances be allowed to seize it by force.In terms of economic and military strength,the USA is superior to China in every way,and the USA could single-handedly beat China outright if China ever presses for a war right now.How could the USA let an underdog like China walk all over them and slowly and steadily take over the South China Sea right under their nose, an area which has been under American influence for well over 100 years.The problem is America does not want to face the problems on their own.That is why Japan and Australia have to go on the scene and share the burden.China is adamant about taking over the South China Sea by force,defying all reasons and international laws.The only way to deter them is to form an alliance to restrain,isolate them or even to defeat them at sea or in the air,should they contemplate a blitzkrieg to turn their territorial ambition into reality.The world's future security and prosperity depends on this region.We must act now before it is too late.The only way to prevent war is by preparing ourselves for it ! This is exactly what Australia is doing right now. We must expand our navy and air forces,and ensure that they are constantly patrolling the area to help maintaining the freedom of navigation and protecting weaker nations from being intimidated and terrorized by China in their quest for new territories.

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