US should permanently place a new First Fleet in Darwin: Babones

University of Sydney Associate Professor Salvatore Babones has called for the United States to permanently place a new First Fleet in Darwin, given China is pointing a “hypothetical dagger” at Australia.

Discussing news China recently announced it will build a new $200 million fishery complex at Daru Island in PNG’s western province, Professor Babones said “everyone knows it’s not a fishing facility”.

“It’s clearly meant as a hypothetical dagger pointing at Australia saying ‘if you keep upsetting us we’ll keep putting on pressure’,” he told Sky News host Chris Smith.

Mr Babones said the proposal to support American allies via a re-established First Fleet is backed by the US Navy and would take some of the pressure off the Seventh Fleet – which is based in Japan.

“The idea that it (a new First Fleet) will mainly port in Singapore I think is fantastical, the Singaporean government does nothing ever to upset China, and this would upset China,” he said.

“Singapore is also a poor choice from a technical standpoint because they’re very crowded waters.

“Much better to have it somewhere close to the action, but where there’s more space, and I think Darwin is probably ideal from that standpoint.”

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