Australia’s Strategic Alignment With US Will Cast Shadow on its Relations with China
Australia and the United States announced a series of cooperation initiatives to further strengthen and expand their military alliance. Saturday’s meeting in Brisbane between officials of both countries has deepened Washington’s footing in the Indo-Pacific region.
However, Canberra’s strategic alignment with the US will put an indelible mark on its foreign policy and cast shadows on its relations with China. Australia and the US said their cooperation is based on a bond of shared values. Their alliance is a partnership of strategic interest, premised on a common determination to preserve stability, prosperity and peace.
They are committed to further enhance engagement in the Indo-Pacific underpinned by regional partner priorities such as economic and social development, climate change cooperation, security, connectivity, good governance, timely and effective humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, health security, and resilience initiatives.
Moreover, Washington plans to turn Australia into a US missile production base, wherein the Biden administration has pledged to help its ally manufacture guided missile and rockets within two years. The missile production will ease the US deficiency in military production. But the Anthony Albanese-led government should be careful not to give Washington the reins of its foreign and security policy. If this happens, Australia will become heavily dependent on the US – militarily and strategically.
Richard Marles, the Australian Defense Minister, said Australia at this moment has no better friend than America, but the latest arrangements as well as the AUKUS agreement risks letting the US lead it into a direct confrontation with China, which is its largest trading partner.
If Canberra gives the go ahead, there will be an increased American rotational presence in Australia, including frequent US submarine visits to a base in Western Australia, more US access to air bases in northern and western Australia, increased cooperation between the two countries in space and eventually Australia developing its own guided missile production.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the two countries are defending the international rules based order, which has underwritten peace and security for decades, and which ensures that each country can make its own sovereign decisions free from any coercion. A senior US defense official described the agreement between the two countries as a “big deal” that will improve regional deterrence by having both work together across multiple domains.