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New details have emerged that reveal a 2009 Australian government document included a secret assessment on the risks of a Chinese attack — and a detailed plan for possible military action against the superpower.Those plans were not included in the public version of then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s 2009 defence white paper, which used strict terms such as “major power adversary” in order to not offend the Chinese, the Australian reports.
However, a new book has revealed that a secret chapter, not publicized with the white paper’s release, contained a far stronger tone.
The Kingdom and the Quarry: China, Australia, Fear and Greed by the Australian’s economics editor David Uren reveals that the plan would include “12 big conventional submarines with missiles, revolutionary Joint Strike Fighters, air warfare destroyers and giant landing ships”.
“A major power adversary would be expected to respond to these blockades by mining and attacking ports.”
“Part of the Defence thinking is that in the event of a conflict with the US, China would attempt to destroy Pine Gap, the US-Australia signals facility near Alice Springs, which is crucial for guiding US military operations in Asia … the paper envisages a very different world in which Australian naval operations alongside the US in, say, the South China Sea, could lead to direct Chinese attack on Australia …”
“The capability of China to reach out 5000km and touch Australia was a new element of the strategic environment.”
Given that the US now has marines based in Australia, and tensions in the South China Sea seem higher than ever, the chapter seems rather prescient.
A release of diplomatic cables from Wikileak’s in 2010 revealed that Australia’s attempts to placate the Chinese didn’t work, and Chinese officials were furious about just the public section of the White Paper. Rudd was also revealed to have told the US he was ready to use force if China didn’t placate the international community.