US set to station nuclear capable B-52 bombers in northern Australia – Sky News

The move comes amid growing tensions in the Pacific region between Washington and Beijing, particularly over Taiwan
By Guy Birchall, news reporter
Monday 31 October 2022 13:35, UK
The US is reportedly planning to deploy up to six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to an air base in northern Australia.
Dedicated facilities for the bombers will be set up at the Royal Australian Air Force’s Tindal base, about 190 miles south of Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Washington has reportedly drawn up detailed plans for what it calls a “squadron operations facility” for use during the dry season as well as an adjoining maintenance centre and a parking area for the bombers.
The US Air force was quoted as saying the ability to deploy the bombers to Australia sends a strong message to adversaries, ABC reported.
The move comes amid heightened tensions in the Pacific between the US and China, particularly relating to Taiwan.
B-52s have a combat range of about 14,000km and stationing them in Australia will serve as a “warning” to Beijing, Becca Wasser, a senior fellow at the Washington DC-based Centre for a New American Security, told ABC.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: “The relevant practices of the US side have increased tensions in the region, seriously undermined regional peace and stability, and may trigger an arms race in the region.
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“China urges the parties concerned to abandon the old Cold War zero-sum mentality and narrow geopolitical concepts and do more to contribute to regional peace and stability and to enhance mutual trust.”
Australia’s Northern Territory frequently plays host to military collaborations with the US.
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Thousands of US Marines rotate through the territory annually for training and joint exercises, under an arrangement which began under President Barack Obama.
Last year, the United States, Britain and Australia created a security deal know as “AUKUS” that will provide Australia with the technology to deploy nuclear-powered submarines, riling China.
Australia also plays host to the Pine Gap satellite surveillance base in the centre of the country.
The base is partially run by the CIA and NSA and has long been steeped in intrigue, with some branding it “Australia’s Area 51”.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia engages with the US on defence alliances “from time to time”.
“There are visits, of course, to Australia, including in Darwin, that has US Marines, of course, on a rotating basis stationed there,” Albanese said during a media conference.
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