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US-Australia defence ties is 'Cold War mentality'

The Chinese defence ministry criticised the United States and Australia for upgrading their military ties, warning that such steps could undermine trust.

BEIJING // The Chinese defence ministry criticised the United States and Australia for upgrading their military ties, warning that such steps could undermine trust and was a reflection of Cold War thinking.

Geng Yansheng, the Chinese defence ministry spokesman, offered the warning about a plan unveiled in mid-November by the US president, Barack Obama, and the Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, to form a de facto base in north Australia for up to 2,500 US marines.

"Military alliances are a product of history, but we believe any strengthening and expansion of military alliances is an expression of the Cold War mentality," Mr Geng said. "This is not in keeping with the tide of the era of peace, development and cooperation, and does not help to enhance mutual trust and cooperation between countries in the region, and could ultimately harm the common interests of all concerned."

This month, Mr Obama told Asia-Pacific leaders that the US was "here to stay" and chided China for refusing to discuss its South China Sea disputes at regional forums.

Mr Geng also said that the notion raised by US and Australian officials of advancing "integrated air and sea combat" amounted to "trumpeting confrontation and sacrificing others' security for the sake of one's own security".

Updated: December 1, 2011 04:00 AM

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