China military condemns US-Australia military pact
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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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