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Australia to modernize military bases and expand war games with the United States

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Australia will spend A $ 747 million ($ 580 million) to modernize four military bases in its north and expand war games with the United States, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will say on Wednesday.

An airstrip in the Northern Territory will be lengthened to accommodate larger planes, revised ranges and new training facilities put in place for defense personnel and U.S. Marines, according to excerpts from the ad seen by Reuters.

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“By working with the United States, our allies and the Indo-Pacific neighbors, we will continue to advance Australia’s interests by investing in the Australian defense force,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

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“Our goal is to seek peace, stability and a free and open Indo-Pacific, with a world order that promotes freedom.”

Military upgrades will begin this year and end by 2026.

The prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The U.S. Embassy in Canberra also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Australia and the United States host biennial War Games, the next of which is scheduled to begin in August.

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Typically, more than 30,000 troops participate in exercises off Australia’s east coast.

One of Australia’s top security officials earlier this week said liberal democracies must prepare for war.

Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo did not specify the catalyst for his warning, but it follows a sharp deterioration in Australia’s relations with China and mounting regional tensions in Taiwan.

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Relations between Australia and China have deteriorated since Canberra called for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, prompting trade retaliation from Beijing.

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Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said on Sunday that a conflict between China and Taiwan “should not be ruled out”.

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