Australia’s biennial naval exercise, KAKADU
Australia’s biennial naval exercise, KAKADU 2018, will begin today.
Its purpose is to develop military interoperability between the naval and air forces of Australia and 27 other countries from across the Indo-Pacific region, including the US, Canada and China; 23 ships and submarines, 21 aircraft and more than 3,000 will participate.
For the first time, Chinese forces will participate in the event. Though Washington, Canberra and Beijing will be working together for this week’s exercises, the US has increasingly pressured Australia to toughen its stance against Chinese military expansion in the Pacific, particularly in the South China Sea.
Growing Chinese economic influence in the region, especially as it relates to investment in developing Pacific markets, is likely to be the greatest motivator for Australia to challenge the East Asian superpower’s expansionary actions. Canberra’s future economic success could be seriously hindered by greater Chinese economic insertion in the region, which has been enhanced by Beijing’s achieving an under-deterred military foothold.
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