No US missiles for Darwin

Not yet anyway. It appears the issue was misreported by the MSM yesterday, via the ABC:

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has ruled out the United States deploying mid-range missiles in Australia, confirming no formal request has been made.

Senator Reynolds said the issue was canvassed during high-level talks with her US counterpart, Defence Secretary Mark Esper, in Sydney yesterday.

“I can confirm that he made no request, and that he wasn’t anticipating any request,” she told RN Breakfast.

When pushed to clarify, the Minister recounted her conversation with Mr Esper.

“I asked him directly, ‘was there any expectation of a request’, and he said ‘no’,” she said.

On his way to Australia for the annual AUSMIN (Australia-US Ministerial) talks, Mr Esper flagged American intentions to deploy land-based conventionally armed missiles in locations throughout the region.

It follows Chinese military expansion in the region and the breakdown of a Cold War-era treaty with Russia, which controlled the proliferation of such missiles.

“We now are free to develop that range of weapons, 500 kilometres to 5,500 kilometres, that had not been available to us from a ground-based deterrent posture,” he said.

China’s military expansion includes stocks of Dong-Feng 26s, an intermediate-range ballistic missile that is capable of travelling up to 5,500km.

When asked about the potential for American hardware on Australian soil yesterday, Foreign Minister Marise Payne appeared to leave open the possibility.

“The presence of the US and its military forces in this region has been a force for stability for decades, and Australia has consistently welcomed that force and presence,” she said.

Even without the details, signalling an intention to deploy missiles in the region raises the possibility of an arms race between the US and China, putting Australia in a deeply difficult position between its most important security ally and largest trading partner.

The Trump administration has been increasingly belligerent towards Beijing, and Mr Esper used the AUSMIN talks to ratchet up the rhetoric, accusing China of engaging in a “disturbing pattern of aggressive behaviour, destabilising behaviour” in the region.

Mr Esper, a former US Army veteran with an expertise in China, assumed the top job at the Pentagon last month.

China has responded angrily to the “groundless attacks and slanders”, issuing a statement through its embassy in Australia.

“During their visit to Australia … senior US officials carried out groundless attacks and slanders on China’s role in the region, exposing the hegemonic mentality of certain US forces,” a spokesperson said.

“Their plot will not succeed.”

The AFR has some interesting analysis from ASPI senior analyst Malcolm Davis:

“If they base these missiles here near RAAF Tindal and they have the maximum range of 5500km, they can cover everything in the South China Sea and they can range deep into eastern China, so they can cover a lot of key targets on the Chinese seaboard.”

“We’re already a target. A Chinese DF26 [missile] from Mischief Reef can already reach well past RAAF Tindal. Chinese cruise missiles launched from bombers operating out of the island of Hainan could certainly cover Pine Gap,” he says.

“If you have American forces operating from the north any how, including not only the Marines but also the expanded air exercise program with US bombers coming into northern Australia, they are going to target those bases in a conflict.

I’m agnostic on such deployment. Whatever it takes for the Communist Party of China to be kept at bay in the Canberra swamp.

Comments

  1. Just wondering what the evidence is of China being an aggressor? As Macro tend to use data as a source rather than make up the news how about a list of USA vs China in acts of aggression.
    But that might be letting the truth get in the way…

    • I think you are misinterpreting what it means when people say China is aggressive.

      America may be more aggressive (which as the global hegemon isn’t all that surprising, or even comparable), but America isn’t aggressive towards Australia, or even the other nations now reacting to China. In fact the USA is downright lovely to Australia, so much so that we bend over backwards to lend our support to it. The list of countries in our near abroad that prefer America to China is long and growing, because the Chinese way of international diplomacy is rather old fashioned to say the least.

      I couldn’t give a single sh*t if the USA is bad for some other nations. That is their problem. Bring on those missile silos I say.

      • Think you don’t understand what aggressor means. Based on past history are China likely to invade Australia? No, this is purely scare tactics to get a US base here. The media have been softening us up over the past year or so with constant negative spin on China. Meanwhile USA has killed more innocent people than the Taliban or ISIS combined in the middle East. It is also most likely USA have been arming, training and teaching torture techniques to both Taliban and Isis in the past before turning on both of them when it suited them.
        USA have stolen our gas reserves from the people of Australia, sent our troops to die in useless wars and have many corporations paying tax in the USA that should have been paid and collected here.
        They are not good to us they are our masters but we have all been brainwashed to falsely believe they are good people from a young age.
        P.S no I don’t have a thing for China but my opinion of them is higher than USA based on data but have never been to China to see for myself.

      • @Blackbeard

        You sound as if your brain has rotted. The Middle East has been a war torn hellhole for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Its been a plaything for great powers and competing empires since at least the Parthians and Byzantines. And, that is THEIR problem, not ours.

        In our case it is China that threatens our current situation, not America. It is China that puts at risk our sea lanes. It is China that is destabilising our near neighbours. It is China that is attacking our cyber architecture. And it is China that is trying to undo the current world order which has protected and allowed Australia to flourish.

        They want to silence us and take our freedoms. What they are doing to Hong Kong they will do to any other country that can’t, or won’t, stand up to them.

      • @Blackbird well I agree with you except when you say you’ve never been to China. Do you think I just fell off the turnip truck?

      • Hong Kong is part of China you numpties. Our government would do the same if the people rioted non stop.
        I will say I doubt USA trained Taliban or ISIS got a bit carried away after reading many other accounts whereby the CIA trains terrorists all over the world to overthrow their governments. This is a fact, they actually teach them to torture.

  2. Australia is too far from the targets for mid-range missiles. You’d need an ICBM which means you can base it in the continental USA or a submarine.

    • Warships maaate, warships. Lovely floating platforms to launch all sorts of things from.

      Also handy when expanding military bases all through the pacific and some moron in the state government sells off a major port – Darwin Port is owned by Landbridge, a chinese government business based out of a military port in Shandong province.

  3. First country China will attack in this part of the World is Japan and Australia. I hope it never happens. I just hope there is no Democrat running the US if it does.

    • hmmm, Japan, an advanced military and could be a strategic threat to China (small but well equipped army?)

      Australia’s geographically unimportant, a huge land mass with large distances. On the plus side, low population, poorly equipped army, stupid governance with no plan and huge natural resources.

      If China was looking at Australia, I think its the ease that the resources could be taken that would make this country attractive.

      But why bother? Why would China decide to go against the world, look at WW1 and 11, it never ends well. What would the end goal be, the point of it all? Apart from the obvious megalomaniac dictator aim of world domination.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      I just hope there is no Democrat running the US if it does.

      Yeah. It’s not like a Democrat would ever have the ticker to throw down some nukes if they had to.

  4. – Australian politicians have become very vulnerable to corruption out of China. These aussie pollies also have investment properties that are “under water”/ “in negative equity”. And now China is able to dangle some dollar notes in front of their faces. Very tempting.