The US military signs a security agreement with Australia, extending its tentacles to China’s backyard

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U.S. Foreign Policy Update

After signing a trilateral defense partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom, Australia has become the focus of attention. The partnership will provide the Australian Navy with nuclear-powered submarines.

But the intention behind Aukus goes far beyond these submarines and Australia. According to military officials and analysts, the new agreement is an important part of Washington’s attempt to prevent China from gaining military dominance in the region.

Alexander Neal, an Asian security affairs expert who runs a strategic consulting company in Singapore, said: “It is indeed working hard to improve the capabilities of allies and use the new relationship as much as possible to expand the influence of the United States.” “This means turning your Friends and allies merge into your battlefield and deter China and other countries through power multiplication. This is Okus.”

China’s arsenal of missiles targeting U.S. bases in Japan, Guam and its warships continues to increase. Beijing’s budding electronic warfare and space forces and growing submarine fleet have weakened the ability of the U.S. military to operate freely in Asian waters and airspace.

For more than a decade, U.S. policymakers and military officials have been discussing how to deal with the weakening of the power of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army as its capabilities expand. Some initial steps include changing the operations of the Marine Corps, establishing or expanding airstrips on Pacific islands (such as Midway Island), and rotating Marine Corps and Air Force assets in northern Australia.

But Aukus can take these efforts one step further. “I think it really fills the gap in US military power in the region: we are now making a very serious alliance strengthening with Australia, which is in the context of more US investment in the four countries,” David Santoro said. The chairman of the Pacific Forum, a Hawaii-based think tank, mentioned the partnership between the United States, Australia, India, and Japan that the Biden administration has recruited. Help fight back against Beijing.

Two Asian military officials said they expect the four-nation summit to be held next week to strengthen the United States’ commitment to deepening defense cooperation. “We are moving towards a situation where different partners are responsible for patrolling different sea areas, which will optimize the use of the limited assets we have,” one person said.

Washington and Canberra Said On Thursday, they will expand the rotation of US military aircraft in Australia and extend this cooperation to provide services to US naval vessels in the country. Governments also stated that they will conduct more comprehensive exercises and joint operations with other allies and partners in the region.

The United States maintains its submarine fleet in the Guam area. Chinese ships are getting closer to the western Pacific islands © Naomi Johnson/AP

The Biden administration launched a force posture assessment in February to determine what changes the U.S. military’s global presence, resources, and strategy need to make. Experts believe that the actions agreed under Aukus may be the first result of this process.

“This may be the beginning of the rollout of the impact of the review. I suspect this may be the background,” said Euan Graham, a senior researcher for Asia-Pacific security at the Institute for International Strategic Studies, a Singapore think tank.

The core of the new US strategy is a method called comprehensive deterrence, which connects its power more closely with the power of its allies and partners, and relies more on them. This allows operations closer to Chinese territory, but in some cases also protects American assets from attack.

Graham said: “Australia is not only a political ally, but also conveniently located. Except for China’s longest range missile, there are no other missiles.”

He added: “The United States may build a base to strike assets there and do what it did in the early 1940s,” he added when referring to the United States and Australia fighting Japan together during World War II. . “Technology has changed a lot, but geography will not change.”

The rotating deployment of the US Air Force in Australia includes bombers capable of carrying anti-ship missiles, which may put Chinese naval vessels in the region at risk. Analysts believe that the US Navy will also require its nuclear-powered submarines to enter the HMAS Sterling base in Perth. Cocos Island is an Australian territory located in the Indian Ocean, suitable for monitoring access to the disputed South China Sea from the west.

In the increasingly fierce competition between the United States and China, equally important is the support from allies in the Pacific. Defence experts believe that Aukus is part of the wider US foray into Oceania, and Australia has long been the dominant force in Oceania. At the same time, the Chinese navy and maritime research ships are getting closer and closer to Guam. Submarine fleet For the area.

The closer integration of the U.S. and Allied forces through Aukus will greatly increase Complex strategic calculations For Beijing.

“Think about Australia’s military communications and surveillance satellites sharing information with the United States and the United Kingdom in the conflict, China will face a dilemma, and China must decide whether to attack them,” said Drew Thompson, a visiting scholar at the National University. Singapore and former Pentagon officials.

Thompson equated this situation with the dilemma that China will face in the Taiwan war: attacking the US Kadena Air Base in Japan and preventing fighter jets from defending Taiwan, but Tokyo may be involved in the conflict.

“Aukus is part of a huge resilience plan that has brought various upgrade dilemmas to China,” he said.

This article has been revised to reflect the fact that Australia has exceeded the range of all missiles except China’s longest-range missile.

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