Solidarity Webinar: Cancel Talisman Sabre — No More War Games in the Pacific!

July 15th, 2021 - by World BEYOND War & The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network & The Australian Broadcasting Corp

No More War Games in the Pacific!

Greta Zarro / World BEYOND War

(July 13, 2021) — Talisman Sabre is a massive military exercise that takes place annually at locations across the Pacific region, involving tens of thousands of troops from the U.S, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and many other countries. The Talisman Sabre war games are a gross display of military might, plus the ammunition and bombs used in the exercises threaten human health and the environment.

We, the peoples of the Pacific, aim to create a peaceful, sustainable, and thriving region free of militarism and its negative consequences. We stand in solidarity with each other, empowered by the spirit of our ancestors and as stewards of Moana Nui (the Pacific Ocean).

Please join with people from across the Pacific to call for the cancellation of the Talisman Sabre military exercises at the upcoming webinar organised by the Pacific Peace Network (PPN) next week! You will hear representatives from the Philippines, Guåhan, Aotearoa/NZ, West Papua, Jeju Island, Okinawa, Hawai’i, Australia, and more.

What: Webinar: Cancel Salisman Sabre — No more war games in the Pacific!
When: Friday, July 23 at 3:00pm HST / 6:00pm Pacific Daylight Time / 9:00pm Eastern Daylight Time / Saturday, July 24 at 10:00am Seoul / 11:00am Australia Eastern Time / 1:00pm NZST
How to Join: Register here for the Zoom link!

World BEYOND War is a global network of volunteers, chapters, and affiliated organizations advocating for the abolition of the institution of war. 

ACTION ALERT: Halt the US’ Talisman Sabre Pacific War Exercise

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network

 (July 2021) — This declaration is being circulated in the lead-up to one of 2 major Pacific military exercises Talisman Sabre 2021 where many thousands of military personnel will be training for war.

This military exercise occurs on alternate years with Rim of the Pacific RIMPAC in Hawaii. It brings together the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and United States (US) military plus many other countries during a time of global pandemic.

This is an important time to call out the dangers of militarism to the Pacific regions that include:
•  the destruction of the environment
•  the violation of the self-determination of indigenous peoples
•  the sexual exploitation of women and girls
•  land dispossession
•  irresponsible global military spending
•  threats to common security and
•  an increasing threat of major war between the US and China.

Talisman Sabre takes place every two years on land and sea around Shoalwater Bay in Central Queensland, home of the Great Barrier Reef. It is one of more than 1,500 exercises under the control of US Pacific Command including exercises that take place annually with Japan, Korea, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines. The 7th Fleet exercises include: Tandem Thrust, Valiant Blitz, Keen Edge, RIMPAC, Sea Bat, Tricrab, Dieselex, Shin Kame, and Lungfish.

The Pacific People’s Declaration for Peace, July 2021

We, the peoples of the Pacific, aim to create a peaceful, sustainable, and thriving region free of militarism and its negative consequences. We stand in solidarity with each other, empowered by the spirit of our ancestors and as stewards of Moana Nui (the Pacific Ocean). We envision the following:

·  A halt to all military exercises (in land, sea and air) in the Pacific region that threatens the sustainability of our physical environment;

·  The closure of all foreign military bases, facilities and installations;

·  The clean-up of all toxic military sites that have led to the death of people in surrounding base communities to cancer and other diseases that result from exposure to toxic military contamination of lands, territories, and waters;

·  The end to weapons testing in the Pacific, and the increasing weapons sales through the introduction of new weaponry in the guise of modernizing and capacitating the military forces of allied countries through the year-round military training and exercise

Chinese Spyship Returns to Queensland Waters Ahead of War-fighting Exercise

The Tianwangxing also shadowed Russia’s Vostock Exercise in 2018.

Andrew Greene / Australian Broadcasting Corp.

(July 13, 2021) — The Australian military is closely tracking a high-tech Chinese surveillance ship making its way towards Queensland ahead of large-scale military exercises which begin this week. 

Defence sources have told the ABC the auxiliary general intelligence (AGI) vessel Tianwangxing (which translates as “Uranus”) is scheduled to arrive on Friday.

The vessel is then expected to monitor the Talisman Sabre 2021 war games involving Australia and the United States, which will be officially opened today.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton confirmed Australian Defence Force (ADF) assets had been closely monitoring the Chinese military vessel for “several days”.

“We are aware that the People’s Liberation Army (Navy) general intelligence ship Tianwangxing is approaching Australia’s east coast via the Torres Strait,” he said.

“We have been monitoring its approach to Australia for several days as part of Australia’s broader surveillance effort.”

In 2019, the same Type 815 vessel was also tracked by the ADF as it travelled to Australia to monitor the biennial Talisman Sabre war games.

The Tianwangxing is fitted with advanced communications systems including several clearly visible spherical domes, which shield dish antennas that collect and intercept radio signals and give it a distinct profile.

“We fully expected a ship of this class to arrive in our region during the exercise and have planned for its presence, as we do for every iteration,” Mr Dutton said. “The presence of similar vessels did not detract from Talisman Sabre 2017 or Talisman Sabre 2019, and we are confident that it will not impede this year,” he added.

A military official, who spoke to the ABC on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to comment publicly, said the Tianwangxing was keeping a deliberately low profile.

“The ship is in full EMCON (emissions control) at the moment, only broadcasting signals it absolutely has to,” the official said. “[It is only] responding to calls and hails by insisting that it is operating in accordance with international maritime law”.

In a veiled reference to Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea, Mr Dutton said Australia “respects the right of all states to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight in international waters and airspace, just as we expect others to respect our right to do the same”.

Talisman Sabre is described as “Australia’s largest war-fighting exercise”, but this year the number of international participants has been scaled back due to COVID-19.

Along with forces from the United States and Japan, this year the activity will also include military personnel from Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The Chinese Type 815 ship is expected to remain outside Australian territorial waters but within Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the Coral Sea as it monitors the fortnight-long war games.

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