Australia may send military aircraft and ships to help the United States challenge the Chinese regime’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. The military push is being recommended by Peter Jennings, chair of the Australian prime minister’s government’s advisory panel for its annual Defense “White Paper.”
The recommendations from Jennings mirror a wartime strategy with China, which were included in a secret chapter of Australia’s 2009 Defense “White Paper.” Details from the chapter were revealed in the 2012 book by Australian journalist David Uren, “The Kingdom and the Quarry: China, Australia, Fear and Greed.”
The secret chapter outlined the Chinese regime’s military strategy for the Western Pacific. It detailed a scenario where the Chinese regime could launch a pre-emptive military strike against the United States, Japan, and Australia. The attack would include, the book said, cyber and missile attacks to blind U.S. communication and surveillance systems, and would be followed by missile attacks on U.S. naval vessels and military bases.
In response to the rumored threat, the 2009 Defense “White Paper” recommended that Australia cooperate with the United States to counter the Chinese regime’s “anti-access strategy” to gain control over the South China Sea and East China Sea.
Uren wrote the chapter “focused on Australia’s ability to fight an air-sea battle alongside the United States against China. This assumed that there would be blockades distant from China designed to control its sea routes and stop the flow of natural resources on which its industrial engine depends.”
Australia would assist the United States, Uren wrote, by helping block trade routes with its submarines.
The new recommendations sound familiar to the leaked strategy from 2009. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Jennings is recommending that Australia send military aircraft and ships to the South China Sea, in order to prevent the Chinese regime from controlling the region’s vital trade routes.
The United States recently announced it would begin sending military aircraft and ships within 12 nautical miles of the Chinese regime’s man-made islands in the South China Sea. Countries including Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines are worried the Chinese regime will begin enforcing defensive rings around its man-made islands, similar to its self-proclaimed air defense zone over the East China Sea.
The comments from Jennings come amid disputed rumors in Australia that the United States will station additional Air Force assets in Australia, including B-1 bombers and surveillance aircraft.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that, according to Jennings, the United States will have to “puncture the Chinese claims” by sending vessels and aircraft through waters and airspace claimed by the Chinese regime, and that “Australia would need to follow suit.”
“The next step after asserting our position is the simple physical demonstration of it by actually sailing through the sea and airspace,” Jennings said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“If we’re serious about asserting it then we’ll have to do it, at some stage,” he said.