Doctor and activist


Notice: Undefined index: hide_archive_titles in /home/chesterf/public_html/wp-content/themes/modern-business/includes/theme-functions.php on line 233

Tag: Defence

Continue Reading

China may get a naval base less than 2,000km from Australia

24 March 2022

This is a worry!  Here is the article from the SMH

China set to sign first security deal in the Pacific on Australia’s doorstep

By Eryk Bagshaw  March 24, 2022 — 7.33pm

Singapore: China and Solomon Islands are set to sign off on a security deal that will see Chinese warships based in the Pacific and shift the balance of power in Australia’s region.

The agreement will give China the power to use its military to protect the safety of Chinese personnel and major projects in Solomon Islands and give Beijing a base for its navy less than 2000 kilometres off Australia’s coast. The base would be the first time Australia has had a strategic adversary within striking distance of its coastline since World War II.

 “China may, according to its own needs and with the consent of Solomon Islands, make ship visits to, carry out logistical replenishment in and have stopover and transition in the Solomon Islands,” the draft framework agreement states.

“Solomon Islands may, according to its own needs, request China to send police, armed police, military personnel and other law enforcement and armed forces to Solomon Islands to assist in maintaining social order, protecting people’s lives and property.”

The draft, released online on Thursday afternoon and verified by the Australian government, is a sharp escalation in the relationship between the two governments after protests, riots and looting gripped the island nation in November.

The conflict was driven by COVID-19 measures, ethnic tensions and regional tensions between Honiara, the capital, and its most populous province, Malaita, but it was also linked to allegations of corruption involving Chinese infrastructure deals and Honiara’s decision to switch its diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China.

The draft states Beijing and Honiara will enter into the agreement with the view of “strengthening security co-operation, mutual respect for sovereignty, equality and mutual benefit”.

Anna Powles, a senior lecturer in international security and a Pacific diplomacy expert at New Zealand’s Massey University, said the draft agreement was “very significant”.

“The security agreement is one of the first of its kind in the Pacific; its scope is broad and suitably vague and its provisions range from maintaining public order through to protecting Chinese citizens and assets, and providing humanitarian and disaster relief,” Powles said.

“The agreement also contains several ambiguous and potentially ambitious provisions with geopolitical implications including that China is seeking logistical supply capabilities and material assets located in Solomon Islands to support ship visits.”

Powles said the agreement suggests logistics and supplies will be available in the Solomons to support the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

“If it comes under force, the agreement also contains references to China’s ‘own needs’, which could refer to China’s strategic interests; China’s pursuit of its strategic interests in the Pacific is of direct concern to Australia and its allies and partners.”

Australia also sent troops and federal police to the Solomon Islands after a request for assistance from its Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, in November. The request was made under a 2017 treaty between Australia and Solomon Islands to request help from Australian armed forces and the Australian Federal Police in the event of civil unrest, but that agreement would be put under a cloud if the deal with Beijing goes through.

Solomon’s opposition MP Peter Kenilorea told the ABC he was deeply concerned by the development. “This has implications for the Pacific islands region, including Australia,” he said.

China has been courting Pacific island nations to establish a military presence in the area, but the Solomons deal would be the first time the Chinese navy has an operational presence in the region beyond the South China Sea.

In 2018 China approached Vanuatu about building a permanent military presence in the South Pacific, triggering urgent discussions at the highest levels in Canberra and Washington. Thursday afternoon’s draft document, first released by a Solomons’ opposition adviser, sent officials in Canberra scrambling to verify its authenticity. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age confirmed on Thursday evening that the Australian government believes the document is genuine, deepening concerns about China’s intentions in the Pacific.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton were contacted for comment.

The base will increase the risk of confrontation between the US and China as Beijing ramps up its competition with Washington, threatens Taiwan’s airspace and refuses to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Chinese embassy in Canberra was contacted for comment.

Continue Reading

AUKUS Protest Letter- Please sign

17 February 2022

The AUKUS submarine deal is bad for Australia on many fronts.

It is bad financially as the submarines are very expensive, so we will have a lot less of them. It is bad in that they will not be available for a long time, so we will be short in the meantime.

It is of course bad environmentally as if/when nuclear submarines are sunk there will be radio activity released at random locations around the world. Technologically nuclear submarines may be more vulnerable than at first thought. Because the nuclear reactors produce heat, they raise the water temperature, which can be detected by satellites. How vulnerable this makes them remains to be tested in practice.

These nuclear submarines are long-range attack submarines, which the US have to project power- read attack Chinese shipping. We do not want to attack China, so they are not appropriate for us. We need defence submarines to operate in our more local area.

Once we have the submarines, whenever that is, we will have to build a base for them, which the US will want to use. So we will be paying for a base that makes us a nuclear target principally for the Americans’ interest. We will be locked into the US global military system.

In reality, there are now two world powers. One is rising, and one is fading. Our major trading partner, China is rising, and the other, the US, is spending far too much on military hubris, neglecting its domestic problems and its wage structure has made its industries uncompetitive. Its military-industrial complex seems to want to create tensions to sell arms, which the US economy subsidises and now relies on. This is not a good economic model for the world. For Australia to hitch its fortunes to fantasies of bygone hegemony is foolish indeed.

China is extremely unlikely to ‘invade’ Australia. They are on the east end of the world’s greatest land mass and are building the belt and road initiative to get to the markets of both Asia and Europe. Australia is a quarry and a food source and provided we trade fairly they have no need for geographical expansion down here. If they were to attack us, the US would look at its options and decide whether it could possible defend us and at what cost, and that would happen in a global context, not due to some sentimental or historic tie. We should remember what happened in WW2 when we were threatened and appealed to Britain. They sent two token battleships which were promptly sunk by Japanese aircraft off Singapore, said they would take us back when they had beaten the Germans, and declined to give us back the troops that we had in North Africa. East Timor was invaded the week after the US Secretary of State had visited Jakarta. It is extremely unlikely that the US did not agree not to interfere; they were playing a global game as might have been expected. Sorry East Timor. Sorry Australia?

On the submarines, the US got a good deal. Australia signed up for inappropriate vessels at some future date at some yet unknown price, and will have to build a base that the US can use. The British had a little glimpse of being a world colonial power again, which must have delighted the fantasies of Boris Johnson, who thinks he is the reincarnation of Winston Churchill. Australia upset the French, upset the Chinese, upset the Indonesians, locked ourselves into a dangerous alliance against our major trading partner, signed a blank cheque, and hugely restricted our future policy options, but gave Mr Morrison a few good headlines when he was looking bad politically. It was another milestone in the triumph of hubris and lobbying over sensible policy.

Since Australia already has a bad reputation for tearing up submarine contracts, we might as well use this reputation to tear up the AUKUS one. The only hope is that Labor, having won the election by being hopelessly timid, might actually be brave enough to look at the situation afresh.

Please sign the petition below.

https://openletter.earth/aukus-for-war-or-australians-for-peace-e21f6607?fbclid=IwAR0698GDGSCUg2_Vt5vVslpEs8n4oDdNGGYXqxde-i89X5Yeag1p37TlF2Q

Continue Reading