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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

US military base in Australia shows 'Cold War mentality'

By Li Xiaokun and Li Lianxing (China Daily)

09:01, December 01, 2011

BEIJING - The Defense Ministry on Wednesday criticized Washington's decision to build a de facto military base in Australia, warning it could harm the interests of all sides concerned.

Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng made the remarks at the ministry's monthly news conference when asked about a plan unveiled in mid-November by US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to base up to 2,500 US Marines in the northern Australian port of Darwin from mid-2012.

Obama announced the plan, which he said showed Washington's "commitment to the entire Asia-Pacific region", during his nine-day trip to the region that ended on Nov 19.

The move, however, drew concern from neighboring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

"Military alliances are a product of history. We believe any strengthening and expansion of military alliances is an expression of a Cold War mentality," Geng said.

"This is not in keeping with the spirit of peace, development and cooperation, and does not help to enhance mutual trust and cooperation between countries in the region, and could ultimately harm the common interests of all concerned," he said.

"We hope that the parties concerned will do more that is beneficial to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, and not the contrary."

Geng also said that the notion raised by US and Australian officials of advancing "integrated air and sea combat" amounted to "trumpeting confrontation and sacrificing others' security for the sake of one's own security".

"To be honest, the theory of 'integrated air and sea combat' is not creative," he said.

Yuan Peng, an expert on US studies from the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said Washington's military deployment in Australia has a strong strategic orientation.

"It is overreaction toward China's normal military moves and it might result in China's overreaction in the near future. This security dilemma, if it escalates, might lead to another Cold War."

"The US wants to return to the Asia-Pacific region where China is rising, yet it lacks the principle of positive interaction."

Fan Jishe, a researcher from the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the 'integrated air and sea combat' theory is "clearly targeted at China's challenge to US military strategy, not terrorism, the claimed biggest threat to the US".

"This Cold War mentality will affect future cooperation between the two sides in both traditional and non-traditional areas," Fan said.

Reuters contributed to this story.

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PD User at 2011-12-0360.54.93.*
For pig"s sake go and claim those islands and include Australia too if you have any trace of Indian footprints there.Those islnds were inhabitated long before you Indians came.Now I see why they don"t trust Indians.
Paul from Castaways Reso at 2011-12-02110.142.69.*
As an Australian also living in Australia I personally totally oppose any form of aggression in the Asia-Pacific area - in fact I would love to see more Chinese visit our beautiful country. After Cyclone Yasi went thru we have had a big drop in tourist numbers and I am sure our 14km of gorgeous beaches, 20 tropical islands just offshore and the beautiful rainforest, creeks and waterfalls surrounding Mission Beach ( tropical north Queensland ) area would be a beautiful place to visit!
Paul from Castaways Reso at 2011-12-02110.142.69.*
As an Australian also living in Australia I personally totally oppose any form of aggression in the Asia-Pacific area - in fact I would love to see more Chinese visit our beautiful country. After Cyclone Yasi went thru we have had a big drop in tourist numbers and I am sure our 14km of gorgeous beaches, 20 tropical islands just offshore and the beautiful rainforest, creeks and waterfalls surrounding Mission Beach ( tropical north Queensland ) area would be a beautiful place to visit!
Indian at 2011-12-0212.174.60.*
@ttt - I am an Indian, and this theory of an expansionist Hindu Rashtra is only figment of imagination of a few nationalist fools. The predominant Indian public has too many other things on their hand, to support any such day dreams of a select few.
Fred Jansohn at 2011-12-02202.129.80.*
As an Australian living in Australia I have said in previous comments neither Australia nor the US has anything to fear from China in terms of military aggression. I am not alone in Australia in thinking the way I do. To borrow a phrase attributed to the assassinated US President, John F Kennedy, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." There are two additional things we have to fear: The first is alienating our biggest trading partner, China; and the second is US military expansion. Unfortunately, current policy embraced by both sides of politics in Australia is to give blind support to an ally, the USA, whose own policies have dragged us into wars with countries with whom we had never quarreled. The justification is that friendship and business need not match. A bankrupt US state is said to be a traditional "friend" of Australia; whereas China is merely a business partner, and dependent as much on our business as we are on its. At the same time we often hear that this is supposed to be the Asian Century; with China described as a "waking giant". As it awakens and makes its way through a century effectively named in its honour many western nations, the US (also ironically heavily dependent on Chinese trade and loans) and Australia in particular, are slowly drifting off to sleep blissfully incapable of seeing their respective futures do not so much depend on outdated alliances based on a fear of the "other", but are based on a shift in economic-cum- social influence and power from the west to the east. The sooner we abandon what I call “the American distraction”, and accept this shift in influence and power in terms of real policy, the sooner can we all get on with achieving that which every country seeks for itself: peace and prosperity.
  

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