Line of Australian soldiers

Australia took another step in its militarization last week after releasing its 2023-2024 budget with an increase in military spending that represents 2.04 percent of its GDP, which amounts to a record sum.

The defense budget for the next year will be $35 billion in U.S. dollars, which will focus primarily on US-sourced munitions, according to Breaking Defense. 

The Australian Defense Force will spend $8.3 billion on new equipment, including $800 million on American precision-guided munitions. The country does not produce its own precision missiles and relies on the U.S.

The report also noted that Australia’s biggest acquisition will be 72 F-35A aircraft, which will be delivered next year, the report said.

Australia’s military spending is on par with “other imperialist countries such as France and Germany,” WSWS reported. “It is substantially greater than China’s, underscoring the fraudulent character of claims that China is undertaking an unprecedented military buildup,” the report said.

Justin Hayhurst, Australia’s ambassador to Japan, said last week that Canberra is concerned about Beijing’s aggression around Taiwan. He said his position “is very clear that any conflict or miscalculation or use of violence to change the status quo would be catastrophic.”

Hayhurst also said there is a “clear connection between the Ukraine War and peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.”

TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported extensively how countries around China have watched the Ukraine War and considered what would happen if Beijing flexes its muscle on Taiwan or in the South China Sea. (See “CHINA WARNS JAPAN” 17 Jan 2023, “BIDEN RAMPS UP WAR WITH CHINA, AMERICA WILL NUKE TO PROTECT JAPAN” 17 Jan 2023, and “UNITED IN THE LOVE OF WAR: FRANCE, AUSTRALIA SENDING ARTILLERY SHELLS TO UKRAINE” 31 January 2023.)

Like other countries, Australia’s new military expenses come as the country faces economic hardship. (See “AUSTRALIA’S CENTRAL BANK SURPRISES WITH QUARTER-POINT RATE HIKE,” 9 May 2023.)

The Reserve Bank of Australia recently set its new rate at 3.85 percent, saying that inflation at 7 percent was still as much as two years away from falling to the bank’s target range of 2 to 3 percent. The WSWS report noted how Australians face one of the biggest jumps in cost-of-living crisis in decades.

The report noted that Australia will spend $368 billion over 30 years for a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines from the U.S. and U.K. under the AUKUS deal. (See “U.S. AND AUSTRALIA RAMPING UP FIGHT WITH CHINA” 13 Dec 2022.)

China has voiced opposition to the militarization of the region. The Quad summit, which includes Australia, India, Japan, and the U.S., will be held later this month in Sydney that will focus on security in the region.

China called the Quad nothing more than a Pacific NATO intention to destabilize the region.

Qin Gang, China’s foreign minister, is expected to visit Australia in July. China is Australia’s largest trading partner.

“China-Australia pragmatic cooperation is not only conducive to the stable economic development of the two countries, but also has special significance for China and Australia to cope with global economic challenges,” Xiao Qian, China’s ambassador to Australia, said, according to Reuters.

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