The United States is reportedly set to dramatically deepen its military ties with Australia by sending a small fleet of B-52 bombers Down Under, in a move aimed squarely at countering China’s military power in the region.
According to a bombshell report by the ABC as part of a Four Corners investigation, the United States is preparing to deploy up to six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to northern Australia.
The powerful planes are expected to be housed in a special facility at Tindal Air Base, south of Darwin, which Washington plans to build, the national broadcaster reported.
The initiative is currently in the design phase.
The provocative gesture will undoubtedly upset Beijing.
Bombers have been the backbone of the United States Navy for the past 50 years and are capable of long-range strikes with both conventional and nuclear weapons.
“Having bombers that could reach and potentially attack mainland China could be very important in sending a signal to China” about any potential action by the Communist Party in Taiwan, Becca Wasser of the Center for New American Security told the ABC. .
The news sparked a wide range of reactions on Monday morning, with some expressing concern about the ongoing military escalation in the Australian region.
“This is a dangerous escalation,” tweeted NSW Greens Senator David Shoebridge.
“It makes Australia an even bigger part of the global threat of nuclear weapons to the very existence of mankind – and by increasing military tensions it further destabilizes our region.”
The two countries are also working together to upgrade airfields, fuel storage facilities, accommodation and training areas.
Highlighting the accumulation of US military assets in the country, veteran journalist Tony Walker said Australia was becoming “the unsinkable aircraft carrier through stealth”.
His colleague Peter Cronau described the “military madness” as “stirring up tensions with China”.
American bombers have been visiting Australia since the early 1980s and have been flying training missions since 2005.
Dr Malcolm Davis, senior defense analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, suggested that the permanent stationing of bombers on Australian soil was the inevitable result of China’s increased aggression.
“This is a sensible move by the US and Australia given the growing risk of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan,” he tweeted.
Peace in the Pacific is a priority: US Ambassador to Australia
The US ambassador said Washington and Canberra must continue to work together to maintain peace as tensions escalate in the Pacific.
Caroline Kennedy said Monday that the two nations have worked together for decades to support a rules-based order that has lifted millions out of poverty by supporting peace and stability in the region.
Ms Kennedy said keeping the peace in the Indo-Pacific had to be underpinned by a mix of diplomacy and deterrence.
“That’s what we’re going to continue to do,” she told ABC News Breakfast this morning.
“We will work with our partners and allies to make this safe.
“America doesn’t have a stronger, closer ally. I see it everyday as I walk around,” she said.
with the AAP
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