Australia's military buildup 'controlled by US,' risks nuclear contamination
Published: Mar 10, 2022 10:23 PM
Scott Morrison Photo:Xinhua

Scott Morrison Photo:Xinhua

Australia announced its second major military plan within a week as Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday that the country would make its biggest military expansion in four decades. However, Chinese experts said the latest move, together with a plan to build a new base for its future nuclear-powered submarines announced three days ago, is clearly a loss-making business for Australia as it is spending money only to make a US-led military deployment base closer to China.

Morrison said that Australian Defense Force (ADF) personnel will expand to more than 101,000, an increase of about 30 percent, by 2040, costing some A$38 billion (US$28 billion), Australian media reported.

Morrison also said that the ADF's personnel will be increased in every state and territory. There will be a particular focus on capabilities associated with Australia's security partnership with the UK and the US (AUKUS), and in the air, at sea, on land, in space and in cyberspace, media reported.

A large component of the new personnel - estimated at about 6,000 people - will be for the development of the nuclear-powered submarine capability, Morrison announced on Monday, citing so-called increasing threats from China and Russia.

Some Australian senior officials have been making negative comments concerning China, advocating so-called China threat and confrontation with China in the South China Sea out of their personal interests, Tan Kefei, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of National Defense, said Thursday.

We urge certain senior military and political officials of Australia to stop hyping the "China threat," and do more to enhance mutual trust between the two sides rather than go all the way down the wrong path, Tan said.  

Chinese experts said that the latest moves indicate that Australia is determined to act as an accomplice of the US' global hegemony and intervention in regional affairs, and follow the so-called Indo-Pacific strategy to contain China. 

Australia lacks the capacity to design and build submarines, so the nuclear-powered submarine force Australia aimed to build would turn out to be a squadron of the US and would practically be controlled by the US in terms of not only technology but also command, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military commentator, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

Once finished, Australia's nuclear-powered submarine base would allow nuclear-powered submarines from the US and the UK to visit the West Pacific and the South China Sea more often, which would pose a more direct threat to China, Song said.

But the base would still be within the range of China's missiles, so the survivability of the base is also in doubt, according to Song.

Experts also noted that it would take years for Australia to construct the base, during which period China would also continue to develop its maritime defense capabilities so as to cope with possible external threats.

Another problem is, if nuclear leaks happen in the base or a submarine gets hit during military conflicts, the ocean and the South China Sea would probably be contaminated, which will be a huge tragedy, experts pointed out. 

Located in Oceania, Australia could have been a land of peace, but it insists on being a pawn for the US to contain China. This is unwise and would lift a rock only to drop it on its own feet, Song said.