Aus­tralia rules out host­ing US mis­siles: PM

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Aus­tralia on Mon­day ruled out host­ing ground-based US mis­siles after talks with Wash­ing­ton’s top de­fense and diplo­matic of­fi­cials.

Fol­low­ing an an­nounce­ment that the US plans to de­ploy in­ter­me­di­ate-range mis­siles in Asia – widely seen as an ef­fort to con­tain China – Aus­tralia scotched the no­tion of lo­cat­ing them Down Un­der.

“It’s not been asked of us, not be­ing con­sid­ered, not been put to us. I think I can rule a line un­der that,” Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son said of the no­tion.

His com­ments came hours after US De­fense Sec­re­tary Mark Esper and Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo de­parted Sydney fol­low­ing talks.

Australian De­fense Min­is­ter Linda Reynolds told pub­lic broad­caster ABC the is­sue came up in her meet­ing with Esper: “I asked him di­rectly, ‘was there any ex­pec­ta­tion of a re­quest,’ and he said ‘no.’”

US Ma­rine Corps units reg­u­larly ro­tate through Dar­win, rais­ing spec­u­la­tion that the north­ern city could host mis­siles after the US with­drawal Fri­day from the In­ter­me­di­at­erange Nu­clear Forces (INF) treaty with Rus­sia.

The Pen­tagon said Fri­day that the US will ac­cel­er­ate its de­vel­op­ment of new cruise and bal­lis­tic mis­sile sys­tems fol­low­ing its with­drawal from the INF.

Ex­perts say the most likely lo­ca­tion for de­ploy­ment in Asia is at Amer­i­can mil­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties on the is­land of Guam.

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