China concerned about U.S. plan to base long-range bombers in Australia

Beijing (China)/Canberra (Australia), Mar.9 (ANI): China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said that it is concerned over reports that the United States plans to base long-range bombers in Australia within striking distance of the South China Sea.

The spokesman of the ministry, Hong Lei, told a daily news briefing, that relevant countries should comply with the trends and people’s wishes in the Asia-Pacific region, which feature the pursuit of peace, cooperation and development.

Hong further said bilateral cooperation of any kind should not harm the interests of a third party.

The United States wants to regularly rotate long-range heavy bombers through Australia, as concerns grow over China’s military expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.

The response from Beijing came hours after the Commander of United States Pacific Air Forces, General Lori Robinson, confirmed that Washington and Canberra are in talks at a high-level to have American B-1 bombers and aerial tankers temporarily stationed in Australia’s Northern Territory.

General Robinson said deployment would be on rotational basis, and would cover forces, bombers and tankers out of Australia (Tindal and Darwin).

She told reporters in Canberra that this would give the United States the opportunity to train with Australia and further strengthen ties with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and have a better understanding of the theatre.

General Robinson was candid in acknowledging the risk of a “miscalculation” as a result of China’s rapid military build up in the South China Sea, but insisted that the United States would continue to fly above and sail through the disputed waterway.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed the development, but refused to go into specifics, saying outcomes were based on existing levels of defence cooperation between the two nations. (ANI)

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