This month, US think tank the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, echoed the suspicion in a report detailing challenges for US polar maritime operations.
“Australia faces competing priorities in the Antarctic. Its interest in protecting Australia’s sovereignty over the AAT is being undermined by the growing number of Chinese stations and exploration missions in its sector,” the report said.
“At the same time, however, Australia plans to rely on Chinese users to recover costs for infrastructure improvements in Tasmania and Antarctica. The Australian government will soon need to reconcile these conflicts or be prepared to protect its sovereignty over the AAT and keep Antarctica free of conflict.”