Saturday, May 27, 2017

WORLD_ Donald Trump wants Australia’s help on China and South China Seas, says Us Senator John McCain

Daily Telegraph

Donald Trump wants Australia’s help on China and South China Seas, says Us Senator John McCain

Staff writers, News Corp Australia Network

May 25, 2017 4:44am

AUSTRALIA is set to play a greater role in Donald Trump’s Asia-Pacific plan in a bid to combat China’s behaviour in the South China Sea.

In an interview with The Australian, US Senator John McCain, who is chairman of the US Senate armed services committee, said that beefed up naval forces would be developed by the US and Australia to target “peace through strength” in the Pacific.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Picture: AP

Sen. McCain, who is headed Down Under next week to meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, said Australia would play a bigger role under the new US strategy.

“The new (US) national security team ... are developing strategies for the Asia-Pacific region and I think that strategy will have a lot to do with our relationship and strategic co-operation with Australia,” he said. “I think Australia could play a key role particularly since we are witnessing a very large investment in an upgrade and expanded (US) navy in the decade ahead.

“That is an affirmation of ­Ronald Reagan’s commitment, which is peace through strength, and we see the Chinese asserting control in areas of the East China Sea and South China Sea that is clearly in violation of internat­ional law,” he said.

This file photo taken on May 5, 2016 shows crew members of China's South Sea Fleet taking part in a drill in the Xisha Islands, or the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. Picture: AFP

Mr Trump’s proposed 2018 budget called for an increase in military spending to $US574 billion, 10 per cent more than last year.

Sen McCain commended Mr Turnbull’s $89 billion proposal to replace and renew the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet.

“I think it’s very important that the Australian navy be improved, I applaud that decision ... and this is important for our alliance,” he said. “We do not see confrontation with China, nor do I believe there will be, but ... one of the fundamentals of US and Australia policy is freedom of navigation. With a big build-up of our capabilities we can ensure this fundamental principle is respected.”

This article originally appeared in The Australian



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