Australian military ranks to swell amid fears China won’t just target Taiwan | Taiwan News
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Australia has announced it will expand its military ranks by a third by 2040 amid concerns China is asserting itself militarily.
The total number of Australian army, air force and navy personnel will rise from around 60,000 to 80,000, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “If people think that (China’s) ambitions in the Indo-Pacific are limited to Taiwan and that there will be no impact if we don’t provide a deterrent effect and if we don’t work in closely with our colleagues and our allies, then they don’t understand the lessons of history,” Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said.
The announcement comes amid growing international concern over China’s action in Taiwan following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this month, leaders of the Quad countries – the United States, India, Australia and Japan – agreed that a repeat of Ukraine could not happen in the Indo- peaceful, according to an Al Jazeera report.
The news of the force expansion follows another big revelation from Canberra in recent days – plans for a base on Australia’s east coast for its future fleet of nuclear submarines. The new base’s proximity to major Australian population centers will make it easier to recruit submariners, the Australian Financial Review reported.
It also gives Australia’s submarine fleet an alternative route to the South China Sea instead of having to cross the Indonesian archipelago. It also offers better access to the South Pacific, where Chinese ships operate more frequently.
“ADF personnel will be augmented in each State and Territory with a particular focus on capabilities associated with our trilateral Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) security partnership, as well as the air, sea, land, space and cyber,” says Duton.
He highlighted the need for expert military personnel in particular. “This growth in manpower and expertise will enable us to deliver our advanced nuclear-powered submarines, ships, aircraft and weapons. This will mean that we can develop combat capabilities in the areas of space, information and cyber,” he added.