Herald Sun

Peace in Pacific all down to allies

- DAVID HURLEY

THE head of the US Air Force in the Pacific has said America’s relationsh­ip with Australia is the key to maintainin­g peace in the region.

General Lori Robinson, Commander of Pacific Air Forces, is visiting Victoria for this weekend’s internatio­nal air show at Avalon.

Dealing with the threat posed to regional stability by North Korea and smoothing out natural disaster response operations are two of the key issues she is tackling following her appointmen­t last October.

Gen Robinson also revealed that Royal Australian Air Force personnel are training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona as the two countries work together to face down the threat of Islamic State.

“It is important to fly together so should something happen we have already started walking and talking, working side by side,” she said.

Although her patch doesn’t e extend to Syria or Iraq, Gen Robinson said personnel under her control were ready to join the fight against Islamic State if called upon.

“We are flying together over there to try and defeat that threat,” she said.

“I know they (Australia) are committed, given the role they are playing, they are flying in Iraq alongside the rest of the Coalition. It is something that we work on every day to make sure it (Islamic State) doesn’t keep going and spreading.”

Gen Robinson oversees more than 46,000 personnel, nine bases and about 400 permanentl­y assigned aircraft.

The four-star general said she was proud of the special relationsh­ip her country enjoyed with Australia. “(It) is one of our oldest allies and friends. Every time the United States turns around Australia is side by side with us ... that relationsh­ip is only going to get stronger and I count on to that help us with keeping peace and stability in the region,” she said.

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