A Pentagon-commissioned report on repositioning US forces in the region had suggested relocating a carrier from the US East Coast to an Australian naval base south of Perth as part of a shift in the US military’s overseas deployment to the Asia-Pacific region. The report had been drafted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.
Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith said on Thursday that Australia’s Indian Ocean base, HMAS Stirling would never become a US military base, although, negotiations were underway to increase the US Navy’s access to the outpost.
“We have made it crystal clear from the first moment – we don’t have United States military bases in Australia. We don’t see the need for that,” The Associated Press quoted Smith as saying on Australian Broadcasting Corp. television.
“It’s a suggestion by an independent think tank. It’s not one we’re proposing to take up,” he said.
Hugh White, the head of Australian National University’s Strategic and Defense Studies Center, said Chinese objections were the major reason why Australia was unlikely to ever allow US bases on its territory.