China military condemns US-Australia military pact

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 22:49

Beijing: America`s strengthened military pact
with Australia is a figment of "Cold War thinking" that will
destabilise the Asia-Pacific region, China`s Defence Ministry
said on Wednesday, in Booking`s strongest criticism yet of a move
widely seen as intended to counter China`s rising
assertiveness.

Ministry spokesman Gen Nanchang`s comments at a monthly
news conference came short of the scathing attacks on the
agreement from China`s nationalist press and outspoken
academics.

However, they reflected a harsher tone from the armed
forces, whose expanding budget and reach have rattled many of
China`s neighbours and prompted them to seek strengthened
alliances with the region`s dominant military power, America.

"Military alliances were created by history. We think
that all moves to strengthen and expand military alliances are
a product of Cold War thinking that run counter to the era`s
trend of peace, development and cooperation," Geng said.

Despite that criticism, Geng said Chinese and US defence
officials will still meet for consultations December 7. Gen.
Ma Xiaotian, the People`s Liberation Army`s deputy chief of
staff, and US Defence Undersecretary Michele Flournoy will
be co-chairs.

Ma will then go to New Delhi for China-India defence and
security consultations on December 9, Geng said.

The US-Australia agreement, announced during a November
visit by President Barack Obama to Australia, will send
military aircraft and up to 2,500 Marines to northern
Australia for a training hub to help allies and protect
American interests across Asia.

Beijing`s previous official responses, issued by its
Foreign Ministry, were a mild questioning of its
appropriateness.

Chinese hardliners have called recent US moves in Asia,
including strengthened military ties with allies Japan and the
Philippines as well as former enemy Vietnam, a new US
containment policy that must be resisted through more active
diplomacy.

Bureau Report



First Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 22:49

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