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Australia, China inspect fighter jets

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Australia, China inspect fighter jets

The Sydney Morning Herald -- September 13, 2010 - 6:29PM


Australia and China have played show-and-tell with their jet fighter aircraft ... in a gesture of transparency.


Defence head Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said it underlined the Australian Defence Force's good relationship with China's defence force, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) - one not shared by the Americans.


He said it was a reciprocal arrangement.


When PLA chief of the general staff General Chen Bingde visited Australia last year, he was allowed to inspect one of our jet aircraft. Just what type of aircraft wasn't specified.


"When the chief of the air force went up to China, he was given what I would say reciprocal access to a fighter aircraft in the same way as we had provided access to that fighter aircraft for General Chen Bingde," Air Chief Marshal Houston told reporters on Monday.


"We thought that was a very positive step and it's typical of the constructive approach we both share."


General Chen was in Australia for the annual Australia-China strategic dialogue and another is to be held soon.


Air Chief Marshal Houston said one topic of discussion last year was China's military buildup.


"We seek to better understand the reason for that buildup and we impress on our Chinese friends the need to be transparent about their intent in terms of that buildup," he said.


Air Chief Marshal Houston said engagement was absolutely the way to go and much of Australia's current prosperity stemmed from China's growth.


"We would love to see our American friends who at the moment are having some difficulties with military to military relationship with China, re-establish those vital engagement links between the two militaries.


That way the US and Chinese militaries could discuss and negotiate issues of common concern, he said.


Air Chief Marshal Houston said it was really up to the US and Chinese militaries to get together and the signs at the moment were quite good.


"If we can help with the re-establishment of links, fine," he said.



The Sydney Morning Herald

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