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Australia won't host U.S. missiles, prime minister says
SYDNEY (Reuters) - U.S. intermediate-range missiles will not be deployed in Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, after the United States revealed ambitions to site missiles in the Asia-Pacific region.
Officials from both governments held talks in Sydney over the weekend that ended with a joint statement in which the two allies pledged to strengthen opposition to Chinese activities in Asia-Pacific, as both sides have become increasingly concerned about China's spreading influence.
During the talks, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper spoke of hopes to deploy missiles in the Asia-Pacific region in coming months following Washington's withdrawal from a landmark arms control treaty last week.
Esper's comments prompted speculation that Australia had been asked to host the missiles, but Morrison denied that any request had been made and said Australia would decline if it was asked in the future.
"It's not been asked to us, not being considered, not been put to us. I think I the rule a line under that," Morrison told reporters in Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland.
A recent increase in tensions between Washington and Beijing, both over trade and rights of navigation in both the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait, has put Australia in an awkward spot, as the United States is its biggest ally, while China is its biggest export market.
Beijing last week described Australian efforts to improve the bilateral relationship as "unsatisfactory".
Australia worries China is using foreign aid to secure greater influence over small Pacific countries which control vast swathes of resource-rich ocean.
Australia, traditionally the major power in the South Pacific, has promised up to A$3 billion ($2.03 billion) in grants and cheap loans to counter what Washington describes as China's "payday loan diplomacy".
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
Get ready for some gun-fu: Both 'John Wick 4' and 'Matrix 4' will be premiering on the same day in 2021
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who led a Marine task force to Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, said the Washington Post's recent reporting about the U.S. government's pattern of lies about the war over the last two decades is not "revelatory."
Mattis, who was interviewed by the Washington Post's David Ignatius on Friday, also said he does not believe the U.S. government made any efforts to hide the true situation in Afghanistan and he argued the war has not been in vain.
Here are 10 key quotes from Mattis regarding the Washington Post's reporting in the 'Afghanistan Papers.'
The Navy relieved a decorated explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) officer on Thursday due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command, the Navy announced on Friday.
The Taliban may not have breached the walls of Bagram, but they damaged the hell out of its main passenger terminal
Blasts from Taliban car bombs outside of Bagram Airfield on Wednesday caused extensive damage to the base's passenger terminal, new pictures released by the 45th Expeditionary Wing show.
The pictures, which are part of a photo essay called "Bagram stands fast," were posted on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service's website on Thursday.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Shortly after seven sailors died aboard USS Fitzgerald when she collided with a merchant ship off Japan in 2017, I wrote that the Fitzgerald's watch team could have been mine. My ship had once had a close call with me on watch, and I had attempted to explain how such a thing could happen. "Operating ships at sea is hard, and dangerous. Stand enough watches, and you'll have close calls," I wrote at the time. "When the Fitzgerald's investigation comes out, I, for one, will likely be forgiving."
So, am I forgiving? Yes — for some.