South China Sea: Defence White Paper prompts Kevin Andrews to call for warships to test Beijing’s claims

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Former minister Kevin Andrews has used today’s release of the long-awaited Defence White Paper to pressure the Turnbull Government to send warships within 12 nautical miles of contested islands in the South China Sea.

The 2016 Defence White Paper maps a course towards a total of $195 billion in Defence capability or equipment by 2020-21, together with a larger military force of 62,400 personnel, the largest in a quarter of a century.

Mr Andrews’ call comes just days after the Commander of the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet said it would be “valuable” if the Royal Australian Navy conducted “freedom of navigation” operations in the disputed region.

The Liberal backbencher said Australia must now follow the United States’ example.

“We have to exercise that freedom of navigation and means being prepared to sail our naval vessels, to fly our aircraft through that region and say we want unrestricted trade routes in this area,” Mr Andrews told the ABC.

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-25/kevin-andrews-calls-for-warships-to-test-south-china-sea-claims/7200978

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail