Thursday, May 5, 2011

Australia to be port of call for Chinese navy as the Red Dragon expands its wings

CHINESE warships could be heading to Australian ports this year after the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, took "a few small steps" towards military transparency and co-operation with President Hu Jintao.

Ms Gillard told the Herald last night her key meeting with Mr Hu was "friendly in demeanour".

Her inaugural visit to Beijing as prime minister appears to have bookended two years of tensions which began with China's taking umbrage with the 2009 Australian defence white paper, which it believed painted China as a military threat.

Western defence analysts are also concerned about the potential for a maritime accident triggering war, given China's increasingly assertive conduct and the absence of the kind of maritime incident protocols that defused incidents between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Ms Gillard said neither Mr Hu nor the Premier, Wen Jiabao, raised any concerns about Australia's military relationships with the US, or its allies, and nor did she raise concerns about the People's Liberation Army. (read more)