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0 China wants US to explain military plans in Australia

As high-ranking military officers from China and the United States meet in Beijing on Wednesday for their annual defense consultative talks (DCT), Chinese experts said Beijing is likely to ask Washington to explain its plans to base US forces in Australia.

The meeting will also serve as a barometer to show how bilateral military ties have recovered since the US decision to sell arms to Taiwan in October cast a shadow over exchanges between the two armed forces, said US analysts.
"The US has always asked China to be transparent about its strategy. It is the US who should make its intentions clear," said Major General Luo Yuan, from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Academy of Military Science.
He was referring to frequent US military activities around China this year, including joint military exercises with countries having territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea.
Among the most recent moves, US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced in mid-November in Canberra that up to 2,500 US Marines would be deployed in the northern Australian port of Darwin from mid-2012.
Obama said the plan showed Washington's "commitment to the entire Asia-Pacific region", during his nine-day trip to the region that ended on Nov 19.
The move, however, drew concern from neighboring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
"Australia is just a pawn in this arrangement, while the US is really controlling the situation behind the scenes," said Liu Qing, director of the Department for American Studies of the China Institute of International Studies.
"China is closely following these events, and the US should explain them to the Chinese side," Liu said.

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