Australian Socialists Decry Planned ‘Militarisation Of South Pacific’

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Defence White Paper says Pacific ‘theatre….of confrontation with Beijing’

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 3, 2013) – Australia’s Socialist Equality Party condemns the Labor government’s plans to step up the militarisation of the South Pacific, as revealed in its Defence White Paper this month, and warns workers and young people in Australia and the region that a new round of predatory interventions is being prepared.

The White Paper, the policy document that outlines Canberra’s current strategic and military agenda, underscores the extent to which Australian imperialism is committed to Washington’s so-called "pivot" to East Asia and the Pacific. The Obama administration is provocatively encircling and preparing for war against China in a bid to maintain Washington’s strategic domination over the entire region.

One little noted aspect of the new White Paper is its focus on preparing for stepped up Australian military activity in the South Pacific.

The region has emerged as an important theatre in the US-Australian campaign of confrontation with Beijing. US imperialism aims to ensure that the entire Pacific Ocean remains an "American lake", as it was characterised in the aftermath of World War II.

Washington’s junior allies in Australia and New Zealand are being delegated responsibility for shutting out rival powers from developing ties with states in Melanesia and Polynesia. Australian imperialism is completely dependent on US backing for its own predatory operations in the region, and has lent support to US-led military aggression throughout the world in order to secure that backing.

The 2013 White Paper defines Canberra’s most important strategic interest, after maintaining the military defence of Australia, as establishing a "secure" South Pacific and East Timor. "Australia seeks to ensure that our neighbourhood does not become a source of threat to Australia and that no major power with hostile intentions establishes bases in our immediate neighbourhood from which it could project force against us," the document declares.

This potential "major power" is, unsurprisingly, not identified anywhere in the document, but China is the main target.

As it has done in Latin America, Africa, and other regions, Beijing has actively promoted economic, diplomatic, and military relations in the South Pacific.

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