China gives cool response to US military activity in Australia
Chinese officials have reacted cooly to President Obama’s announcement Wednesday that US Marines will be based in northern Australia, closer to the disputed South China Sea than any other US land forces.
As Washington and Beijing spar this week in a new round of their heavyweight contest for influence in Southeast Asia, the Chinese have diplomatically ducked a number of American punches. But the resumption of hostilities has alarmed local analysts here.Skip to next paragraph
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“They are sending a clear cut message to China, that America is back and wants to hold down or roll back China,” says Zhu Feng, a professor at Peking University’s School of International Studies. “This will not facilitate diplomatic cooperation.”
Official Chinese spokesmen have reacted calmly to President Obama’s announcement Wednesday that US Marines will be based in northern Australia, closer to the disputed South China Sea than any other US land forces.
In the midst of economic crisis “it is debatable whether now is a good time to be strengthening and expanding military alliances, and whether this accords with regional expectations,” was all Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin would say on Wednesday.
The latest in a series of US changes
But the Australian deal, which US officials said should be seen in the context of a rising China, was only the latest illustration of a clearly changing US posture in the Asia Pacific region.
Last week the Pentagon unveiled a new Air Sea Battle concept, which military officials said was needed to counter others’ “anti-access and area denial” weapons. They did not say the new concept was targeted at China, but they did not deny that China is the only potential enemy with the sort of capabilities the concept is aimed at.