Australia, US concerned over China’s growing military power

March 9th, 2011 - 2:25 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar.9 (ANI): Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has backed the concerns of US Senator John McCain over China’s rise as a military power in the Asia- Pacific region.

McCain said that the US and Australia must collaborate to counter this issue.

Backing his concerns, Gillard said she expects increasing military co-operation with the US as well as close diplomatic engagement with the China.

The two met in Washington, as Gillard continued her week long visit to the US, The Australian reports.

McCain said he was disturbed by recent Chinese claims that the South China Sea should be seen as ‘a special zone’.

He said: “They have been acting very assertively in the region, the fact is that they are a rising power and they are a military power.”

“Now that doesn’t mean to me that there is going to be conflict, that’s not necessarily so. But it does mean that Australia and the United States must ensure that basics like freedom of the seas are observed by the Chinese,” he added.

McCain said that China had recently boosted its defence budget by 12 per cent but that the true size of its military budget was unknown because the figures were ‘opaque’.

He said that there was no doubt that the Chinese were building their military and the best way Australia and the US could respond was by asserting basic freedoms such as freedom of passage.

Gillard told reporters that Australia and the US were working closely together as the US continued its defence posture review, designed to reconfigure its global military footprint in line with changing circumstances such as the rise of India and China.
When asked weather the rise of China would mean a rise in US military resources based in Australia or the use of Australian ports, Gillard said American force deployment was a matter for the Americans. (ANI)

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