China menace triggers call for Australian missile defence shield

China menace triggers call for Australian missile defence shield, by Simon Benson.

Andrew Shearer, who advised prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott, said while North Korea posed an imminent danger in the north Asian region, China’s rapidly growing intercontinental ballistic missile footprint potentially posed a significantly greater long-term menace to deployed forces and mainland defence ­facilities in northern Australia. …

In an article in The Australian today — which is co-written by Thomas Mahnken, a former ­defence strategist for George W. Bush’s administration and now chief executive of the US Centre for Strategic and Budgetary ­Assessments — they argue that Australia needs to get over ideological “hang-ups” on missile ­defence capability …

“Highly accurate cruise missiles and hypersonic anti-ship ­missiles are proliferating in the ­region and pose an increasing menace to deployed forces, such as Australia’s large amphibious ships,” the authors say.

“Australian military planners (also) need to grapple with the ­incipient threat posed to the mainland — particularly to defence ­facilities in northern Australia used by the ADF and rotating US forces — by China’s increasingly large and sophisticated long-range nuclear and conventional missile force.” …

The authors say Australia’s remote location “while still an advantage, no longer confers the level of safety … it once did”.

“In a world marked by growing missile arsenals, Australian security will increasingly depend upon active defences,” they say.