Australia Says China Has Nothing to Fear Over Its Military Ties with US

Posted May 15th, 2012 at 4:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, on his first visit to China, has defended his country's deepening military ties with the United States and said Beijing has nothing to fear over the increasing presence of U.S. Marines in Australia's Northern Territory.

Carr made the comment during a meeting Tuesday with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, and Lieutenant General Wei Fenghe, the deputy chief of the general staff, in Beijing.

He said Australia's military ties with the United States are “the bedrock of his nation's security,” adding Canberra believes that the United States has helped to guarantee peace in the Asia-Pacific region, where stability has fostered great economic development for countries, including China.

However, Beijing insists that Canberra is revisiting “Cold War alliances” and that the time for such alliances has long since passed.

Carr said he would also like to see greater military cooperation between Australia and China. He said that although his talks with Chinese officials covered a wide range of issues, the discussions were dominated by concerns about the deepening U.S.-Australia military ties, which Beijing interpreted as a move to balance China's rising power.

Foreign Minister Carr was scheduled to meet with Chinese Vice Premiere Li Keqiang to discuss a possible free trade pact between the two countries, as China is currently Australia's biggest trading partner. Carr also addressed cases involving Chinese-Australians who have been jailed recently in China.