Canberra Increases Defence Spending, Boosts Markets
After PM Scott Morrison announced a new investment in defence programs, the market index hiked.
Four of the Northern Territory's training areas and ranges will be overhauled over the next five years to better prepare Australian troops for foreign threats.
An airstrip in the Northern Territory will be lengthened to support larger aircraft, firing ranges overhauled and new training facilities set up for defence personnel and US marines.
Only the Australian firms will receive contracts.
Mr Morrison said he was committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific to prepare Australia in the face of the current geopolitical environment.
Our objective here is to ensure a peaceful region, but one that at the same time Australia is in a position to always protect, he told reporters in Darwin.
Australia increases defence spending above 2 percent of GDP.
It is not a ceiling but a floor stated PM Scott Morrison at the press conference in Darwin on Wednesday. Australia appropriates $747 million in funding for the joint US-Australian defense facilities, the so-called top-End bases.
Mr. Morrison stated that when he became Prime Minister the defence spending levels were lower than pre-WWII. It was a disgrace, he commented.
Through this prism, one should also observe the current spending hike.
Economists understand that the defence industry has been the main driver of economic growth for centuries. The Australian decision will boost job creation, advanced technology, and overall demand for services.
The expansion will bolster the country's military force capabilities, keep peace in the Indo-Pacific, and enhance co-operation with the US, Mr. Morrison explained.
Australia and the United States hold biennial war games, the next of which is scheduled to begin in August.
Typically, more than 30,000 troops participate in the exercises off Australia’s east coast.
After PM Morrison's announcement the markets reacted enthusiastically hiking the stocks in Australia, but also in Japan and New Zealand.
Japan changes language on Beijing regime's threat
On Wednesday Japanese government expressed strong concerns about Communist China’s expanding military capability and maritime advances in the Diplomatic Bluebook released by the Foreign Ministry.
The annual foreign policy document is a record of Japan’s diplomatic efforts and a description of the current international situation.
The latest Bluebook, covering mainly 2020, preserved wording regarding China from last year’s version, calling the neighboring nation“one of Japan's most important bilateral relationships.
China's maritime policy raises concerns related to security for the region, including Japan, and the international community.
But touching on China's aggressive maritime advances, the Bluebook also stated, “there are strong concerns related to security for the region, including Japan, and the international community.”
In comparison, last year’s version only described such maritime advances as common concerns in the region and international community.
Chinese Coast Guard's entry violates international law
The bluebook's detailed explanation of efforts being made to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific region also was clearly intended with Communist China in mind.
It also mentioned the Chinese Coast Guard's repeated entry into Japan's territorial waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and for the first time criticized such moves as “a violation of international law.”
The document also said the government would continue to raise the deep concerns felt about the enactment of Communist China’s new Coast Guard law that allows the use of weapons including anti-ship missiles against foreign ships by the Chinese Coast Guard.