US to Station Long Range Bombers in Northern Australia: South China Sea Dispute Progresses
The United States and Australia have come to an agreement to have a rotational presence in the Northern Territory, with long-range heavy bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
The announcement comes in the face of concerns over the growing tensions mounting in the South China Sea, with the United States Air Force regularly flying into the airspace to reiterate an international waters zone, rather than Chinese territory. While admitting that it is possible this is an overreaction, Commander of US Pacific Air Forces General Lori Robinson insisted that the US would continue their planed flights over the disputed waterway.
Australia has since been “publically called upon” by General Robinson to conduct Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea. “We would encourage all nations in the region to do just that, just as the United States is doing” General Robinson stated.
Australia and the US are in talks about a larger US military presence in Northern Australia. “We’re in the process of talking about rotational forces, bombers and tankers out of Australia (Tindal and Darwin) and it gives us the opportunity to train with Australia,” General Robinson told ABC reporters in Canberra.
It has been revealed that American B-1 bombers, surveillance aircraft and aerial tankers will be temporarily stationed at the Northern Territory bases.
“Australia remains strongly supportive of the US rebalance to our near region, and we work together closely in support of our common regional interests,” Australian Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne said.
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