Australia-US Discuss Spy Planes Operation In Cocos Islands
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has confirmed reports that officials of the country are discussing with the Pentagon in the United States. The discussion focuses on Cocos Islands, an Australian territory.
Reports indicate that the Pentagon is interested in using the area as its base for their surveillance drones or spy planes called the Global Hawk.
Prime Minister Gillard, however, insisted that there has been no agreement at this point. The Prime Minister also refused to answer if she was in favor of this plan. Instead, she said that the matter is being discussed at “officials level.”
Last November, US President Barack Obama visited Australia. The country also welcomed 2,500 US Marines for its exercises in Darwin. During this visit, Defense Minister Stephen Smith mentioned that the Cocos Islands would be ideal for a joint Aus-US air base operation.
But a discussion over spy planes was nowhere mentioned in the agenda. Prime Minister Gillard said that the alliance is crucial to the nation’s security. She also said that she is in talks with Defense Minister Smith for the greater utilization of Cocos Islands although no decision has been made whether to bring in the marines in the near future.
Since the visit in November, no agreement has been set. Discussions are still ongoing but there has been no significant progress from these.
The Prime Minister is currently in South Korea for a nuclear security summit. The summit gathers about 50 world leaders to discuss issues on different internal and external threats related to nuclear materials and related topics.