The Chief Minister of Australia’s Northern Territory has opposed the proposal for a United States military base in the region. The reaction of CM Adam Giles came after a US report suggested the viability of setting up a US military base in NT as part of America’s strategy for Asia.
Giles, while supporting ties with the US and other allies said, American forces are free to use Australian bases available in the territory, reports ABC News.
“I think all bases in Australia need to be Australian bases and we’ve got some fantastic and large bases in the Northern Territory right now and across northern Australia,” said Giles. The report, Asia-Pacific Rebalance 2025, Capabilities, Presence and Partnerships, was commissioned by the Pentagon.
The report said Northern Australia can be a good sanctuary for housing American forces if a military conflict breaks out in Asia. “Though having 2,500 Marines is unlikely to be a decisive force against a heavily fortified, high-end adversary, it provides a significant capability that can independently deploy and operate under a wide range of conditions. The US Marine Corps forces at Darwin could prepare and defend beaches, ports or airfields in the region to receive a larger follow-on force,” the report said.
The report also took a view of Australia’s relationship with China. Making a specific mention of the 99-year lease of the Darwin port to a Chinese company Landbridge, the report cautioned Australia about the growing clout of China in the region.
Giles said there was nothing inappropriate about his territory strengthening its relationship with China. “I’m not one of these people that like to kick China, I think that we have an opportunity of working with China,” he said. Calling the US as the “most important ally”, he said extending training opportunities to the neighbours in the north is also important.
Meanwhile, media reports highlighted the retail boost for Australia from an unofficial network of Chinese shoppers known as “daigou.” These bulk purchasers have baby formula as their prime purchase. After buying locally from Australia in tonnes, they ship them to friends and families in China. Daigou in Chinese means “buying on behalf of” the report said. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the trend is a bonanza for many farm-gate producers who are selling fresh fruits.