China’s new supercarrier and its Pacific Island push are a warning to America and Australia
This image of an aircraft carrier is an unmistakable projection of Chinese power. But it isn’t the only reason for Australia and the US to worry.
5 min read
June 25, 2022 – 3:11PM
Aircraft carriers are about power projection. But they can’t go it alone. They need the support and protection of land facilities. And that’s the drive behind Beijing’s Pacific Islands push.
Once outside the South China Sea fortress chain, China’s new Fujian supercarrier will need lairs from where it can impose its gunboat diplomacy.
And suppose Beijing secures such a port in the Solomon Islands or Papua New Guinea. In that case, an air fleet half the size of Australia’s entire fighter force could sit off our coast.
It’s an intimidating thought.
And that’s the intention, argues Lowy Institute director Sam Roggeveen.
By John Power
Published On 21 Jun 202221 Jun 2022
Officials at the US foreign aid agency reacted with alarm to news of a controversial security pact between China and the Solomon Islands, describing the agreement as “very troubling” and “unfortunate”, newly released internal emails show.
The emails, obtained by Al Jazeera via a freedom of information request, reveal how officials at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) scrambled to respond to reports earlier this year that Beijing was seeking to bolster security ties with the tiny Pacific Island nation.
The Chinese and Solomon Islands governments formally signed the contentious pact in mid-April, despite concerns raised by the US, Australia and New Zealand, which fear the establishment of a Chinese military base in the strategically-located archipelago, the site of some of the fiercest fighting in World War II.
Beijing and Honiara have both denied any intention to establish a military base through the pact, a leaked draft of which allowed visits by Chinese warships and the deployment of Chinese police at Honiara’s request to maintain “social order”.