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Soviet Pacific strategy



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1. M.SPENDER, QC, M R TEL No . 02 9593530 0 4 , 0 5 , 8 8 17: 09 P. 02

MEDIA RELEASE JOHN SPENDER QC MP PHONE 062 727061 / 02 9292969

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS SOVIET PACI FI C STRATEGY

T he Australian Government is sending wrong and confusing messages to our a llie s and friends concerning the Soviet Union.

The recent upsurge of Soviet a c tiv ity must concern us a l l . This upsurge Includes:

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. The examination of extensive cooperation with the Soviet Union on fishing m atters, including porting, maintenance and re s t and recreation f a c ilitie s for Soviet fishing vessels;

. The p o ssib ility of the Soviet Union training an A ustralian astronaut;

• The exploration of Soviet involvement in the use of Cape York as a launching s ite for space s a te llite s . - x>.

Elsewhere in therP aeff1c/South East Asia Region Soviet a c tiv ity has also stepped

UP· S :

A high level Soviet delegation has v isited Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia.

In the Philippines, Soviet policy is overtly directed to fru stra tin g American negotiations with the Philippines Government over the future of the U .S .'s major strateg ic bases a t Subic Bay and Clark Field.

The Soviets have renewed, unsuccessfully, th e ir application to become a member of the Asian Development Bank. ·

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There 1s nothing coincidental or uncoordinated about Soviet actions. They are part of a major thrust by the Soviet Union to Increase it s influence in the Pacific Region, and to diminish that of the U.S. and her a llie s .

While changes have been made or heralded in the Soviet Union which we should welcome, we would be naive and unwise to believe th at there is any evidence that Soviet foreign policy objectives have changed. The signs are, Instead, that Soviet in terests and goals are being pursued with greater f le x ib ility but

equal determination.

I t would be irresponsible to reje ct out of hand Soviet overtures; each should be examined on its own merits. But we must not be taken in by the smiling face of glasnost. In the words of former Foreign M inister Gromyko: "Mr. Gorbachev has a*nice smile but he has lio n 's teeth".

The Australian Goverment has shown almost indecent haste to cooperate with the Soviet Union, and has further eroded our c re d ib ility , especially with our South Pacific neighbours.

I f a major fish eries agreement, or other agreements 1n sensitive areas such as Cape York space cooperation, are concluded with the Soviet Union, 1t will make i t impossible for the Australian Government to argue with c re d ib ility and force that island states, should, In the fu tu re, r e s is t Soviet overtures which we judge

to be Inimical to our and th e ir In terests.

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The need to contain attempts by the Soviet Union to Increase Its Influence in the Pacific Region, and especially among the island sta te s of the South P acific, is as strong now as i t has been in the past.

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