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Mockery made of so-called nuclear-free zones

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The northern Pacific transit of a powerful Soviet naval attack

group had made a mockery of so-called nuclear-free zones,

Opposition Defence spokesman Ian Sinclair said today.

"Only weeks after Mr Hawke crowed about his South Pacific

nuclear-free zone, the Soviets have significantly boosted

the strength of their Pacific fleet," he said in Townsville.

"The nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed cruiser Frunze, which

has now joined this fleet, is one of the most powerful

warships in the world.

"The Soviet Pacific fleet already comprises 700 to 800 vessels

including two Kiev class carriers and over 120 submarines,

among them the massive new Typhoon nuclear missile launchers.

"The Soviet naval build-up has been matched by expansion at

Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam, now the largest Soviet base outside

the USSR, and by growth in Soviet ground and air forces.

"This enormous build-up is clearly not for decoration.

"It makes a mockery of Mr Hawke's pious platitudes about a

nuclear-free zone and Mr Lange's ban on US warship visits

to New Zealand.

"The security of Australia rests on our defence readiness

and the strength of the US alliance.

"The Government must acknowledge that with ANZUS in a nearĀ­

terminal condition, it has a grave responsibility to do all

it can to protect our alliance with the US.

"This is no time for appeasing Labor's left wing with

hypocritical commitments to sideshows like nuclear-free

zones," Mr Sinclair said.

TOWNSVILLE 8 November 1985