TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Following reports that China might be looking at using a naval base in Cambodia, Australia has decided to set up a joint military training force with neighboring Pacific nations, reports said Tuesday (July 23).
Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said the Pacific Support Force would start up later this year in cooperation with Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, with its base in Brisbane on Australia’s northeast coast, according to a report by the Australian Associated Press.
The aim of the new unit was to “build a region that is strategically secure, economically stable, and politically sovereign,” the minister was quoted as saying.
Australia was working on the construction of a naval base in Papua New Guinea and investing funds in building up the neighboring country’s air force, the report said.
The Australian government had meanwhile approached the government of Cambodia to clarify the reports of a planned Chinese military presence. Canberra expressed concern about developments likely to “upset the strategic balance in the region,” the AAP reported.